Supportive needs of parents confronted with sudden cardiac death--a qualitative study

Resuscitation. 2007 Jul;74(1):68-74. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2006.11.014. Epub 2007 Mar 13.


The death of a close family member is one of life's greatest tragedies. When death is sudden and unexpected, there is an increased risk of posttraumatic reactions and complicated mourning. Care of the bereaved is still often overlooked in medical training and clinical practise. The aim of this study was to elucidate the perceived support and the needs of bereaved parents confronted with sudden cardiac death (SCD) in a young son or daughter. Data were derived from a qualitative contents analysis of tape-recorded, in-depth interviews with bereaved parents confronted with SCD 5-12 years post-loss. The 20 deceased individuals were part of the Swedish forensic SCD cohort of 15-35 year olds from 1992 to 1999. One third of the parents had had no contact with the emergency department (ED), one third had been disappointed after meeting care-givers at the ED who did not act with sensitivity and consistency, while one third were more or less satisfied with the handling at the ED. A majority of the parents experienced a lack of follow-up care; they had been left mainly to themselves to find information and support. Four factors were identified as being particularly important for the parents: evidence, reconstruction, explanation and sensitivity. There is a need of better routines to help the suddenly bereaved. A model of the major needs and a plan for the support needed are proposed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Death
  • Bereavement*
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Social Support*
  • Sweden