Establishing a bereavement program: caring for bereaved families and staff in the emergency department

Accid Emerg Nurs. 2003 Apr;11(2):85-90. doi: 10.1016/s0965-2302(02)00210-2.


The successful planning and implementation of a Bereavement Program in the Emergency Departments of two of Melbourne's major metropolitan teaching hospitals, Monash Medical Centre (MMC) and Dandenong Hospital (DH) was in response to staff dissatisfaction regarding their capacity to care for bereaved families and involved staff. Key influencing factors were identified and literature evidence was sought. A multidisciplinary team was brought together to form a Planning Group and guidelines were developed. The aim was to improve the care of all those involved with a death in the Emergency Department, both family and staff. Fundamental to facilitating these improvements was the need for staff education in the needs of families, self and staff and a grief education program was arranged, and provided through multiple sources, utilising the expertise of the Centre for Grief Education. The extremely positive feedback, which has been received from families and ED staff is testimony to the care delivered and the difference the Program is making at Southern Health, to those experiencing a death in the Emergency Department.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Death
  • Bereavement*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Family / psychology
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Personnel, Hospital / psychology
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Program Development*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Victoria