Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

SUPPORTING HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS TO COMMUNICATE THE DEATH OF A LOVED one

These resources are free to access and share:

Animation for Healthcare Professionals:

Telling Relatives by Telephone about the Death of a Patient from COVID-19

Step by Step Guide for Healthcare Professionals:

Contacting Relatives by Phone to Communicate Death of a Patient 

Step by Step How to tell children someone has died - International Guide (may be more relevant for low resource settings)

In this unprecedented pandemic one of the most emotionally difficult challenges facing healthcare workers 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. Telephone consultations deprive both parties of vital non-verbal signals which are essential to the formation and maintenance of human connectedness, and convey the other person’s level of understanding, emotional state and empathy. Crucially, 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 importance of ensuring communication is effective.

Responding to these urgent needs, our team has developed a step-by-step guide and animation for healthcare workers.  Crucially, these guides for staff include identifying if the person was 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 guide called how to tell children that someone has died and an animation about how to tell children that someone has died for parents and guardians which can be emailed to the family, or accessed online.