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End of life care: The wishes and needs of the bereaved

84. Death and bereavement affect different people in different ways, and an individual’s response will be influenced by factors such as their beliefs, culture, religion and values.xvii You must show respect for and respond sensitively to the wishes and needs of the bereaved, taking into account what you know of the patient’s wishes about what should happen after their death, including their views about sharing information.28 You should be prepared to offer support and assistance to the bereaved, for example, by explaining where they can get information about, and help with, the administrative practicalities following a death; or by involving other members of the team, such as nursing, chaplaincy or bereavement care staff. xviii


28 Disclosure of information after a patient’s death is covered at paragraphs 70-72 of the GMC guidance on Confidentiality.


xvii The Liverpool Care Pathway is one source of advice on meeting the spiritual and other personal needs of patients and their carers in the last days of life and into bereavement. See also the All Wales Care Pathway for the Last Days of Life. Welsh Assembly Government, in Welsh Health Circular (2006) 030. Advice is also available from the Multi-faith Group for Healthcare Chaplaincy.

xviii Help in supporting bereaved adults and children is available from a number of sources, including the Child Bereavement Charity; Cruse Bereavement Care and Cruse Scotland.

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