Care for the Caregiver
Bereaved parents have the expectation that professionals are aware of and understand the parental grief process. In reality, most of us have had very little training regarding bereavement and the very special nature of infant loss.
Caregivers do grieve for the death of their patients and often experience shock, isolation, guilt and anxiety. (Some of the same symptoms we warn newly bereaved parents about.)
To maximize your coping skills consider the following suggestions:
Accept your own feelings. No one is expected to handle every situation that is thrown his way every day.
Ask for help from co-workers. Consider working in teams (e.g. one person does the paperwork and the other interacts with the family.)
Schedule staff meetings to review the case and allow staff to share their feelings.
Consider attending the funeral and/or sending a card or letter to the family. This will provide you with some closure and will be appreciated by the family.
Attend a bereavement support group. These groups are a tremendous resource for caregivers as well as parents.
Share your feelings with co-workers or others who understand confidentiality and the grief process.
Remind yourself that you didn’t he best you could with the information you had at the time.
Seek professional help if you get stuck at any stage in the grief process or you feel unable to carry out the duties of your job over time.
From When the Bough Breaks – Working With Families Who Have Experienced The Death of an Infant (A Guide For Healthcare and Other Professionals) by Heidi B. Olson
Used with permisson.