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SUPPORTING HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS TO COMMUNICATE THE DEATH OF A LOVED one

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 second guide and animation for parents and guardians which can be emailed to the family, or accessed online.

These resources are free to access and share: