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Image showing two silhouetted figures having a phone conversation. The text overlay reads "I'm so sorry to give you this news over the phone"


We would like to evaluate our guides that have been developed for staff to support them contacting families by telephone after a patient has died during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are exploring both the dissemination and usefulness of the guides to staff. We would be tremendously grateful if you could take part in the short survey using the link below.

In order to capture dissemination and reach, we would be most grateful if you could still complete the survey even if you never received the guides or did not look at them; this is still invaluable information for the evaluation.


In this unprecedented pandemic one of the most emotionally difficult challenges facing healthcare workers and carers is communicating the death of a relative to families. The absence of face-to-face interactions means that staff must undertake this painful task by telephone. Adults are then faced with the seemingly impossible task of telling the children within the family the devastating news that a loved one has died. Simultaneously, children are experiencing substantial changes to their daily routine and social infrastructure, which ordinarily foster resilience to challenging events. Current evidence shows that the quality of communication has a long-term impact on healthcare workers’ and families’ psychological and physical well-being, underlining the urgent need to ensure communication is effective.

Responding to these urgent needs, our team has developed a series of step-by-step guides and animations for healthcare workers, care staff and teachers. Crucially, these guides for staff include identifying if the person had an important relationship with children (such as a parent or grandparent), so that immediate advice can be offered to the family to help them with the unenviable task of sharing the news with children. This is supported by a second guide and animation for parents and guardians which can be emailed to the family, or accessed online.   

All of our resources are free to access and share below, and have been translated into multiple languages. 

Our team

Selected publications


Questions and Feedback

If you have any questions about the resources provided, or require different formats/language versions please get in touch with a member of the team. 

We would like to thank Dr Helen Griffiths, Dr Brenda Kelly, Dr Shaun Wilson, Dr Virginia Davies, Dr Sally Hope, Dr Matthew Hotton, Cecilia Hoegfeldt, Julia Ruiz Pozuelo and Suzy Shepherd for their support, contributions and insight.

Generous funding for the staff animation was provided by Oxford Hospitals Charity