Communicating effective with parents whose child has died

Eloise Parr, Jeannette Littlemore, Sarah Turner, Julie Taylor, Anne Topping

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


When parents experience the death of a child, no matter how old their child was, they experience a range of complex emotions that are sometimes difficult to articulate. A strong understanding of the emotional impact that the bereavement will have can help funeral practitioners to provide compassionate care. Parents provide mixed accounts of the communication that they had with funeral practitioners with some reporting highly positive experiences of compassionate communication and others reporting less positive experiences. In order to find out what constitutes good communication in the eyes of parents, we conducted a study, funded by the True Colours Trust , in which we investigated the experience of parental bereavement, itself as well as parents’ perceptions of good and bad communication with funeral directors.
We interviewed 24 bereaved parents and asked them, among other things, their experience of organising the funeral, the kind of funeral they had chosen for their child, what they wished they could have done or what could have happened, and their perceptions of the communication they had had with funeral directors. We also asked them about the experience of bereavement itself. Here we report some of our findings, which we believe may be of interest to funeral directors who are helping parents to organise a funeral for their child.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationResurgam - The Journal of the Federation of Burial and Cremation Authorities
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


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