'Lights in the darkness', Part 1: characterising effective communication with healthcare practitioners following the death of a child

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

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Abstract

In this two-part article, we investigate communication with parents following the death of a child. Parents who have lost a child need to communicate with a wide range of professionals, and the quality of the communication that parents have with these groups can radically affect their experience of bereavement. In this UK-based interview study, we investigate why particular types of communication are deemed particularly (in)effective, by examining them in the light of parents’ descriptions of the experience of loss.
In this first part of the article, we report findings from our in-depth content analysis of these interviews, discussing the ways in which the death of a child was experienced and then exploring the parents’ accounts of the communication they had with healthcare professionals involved. In the second part of the article, published in a subsequent issue of this journal, we consider the wider network of professionals with whom parents may come into contact following the death of a child.
We conclude by discussing the ways in which effective care and communication resonates with, and takes account of, the experiences of the bereaved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-644
Number of pages18
JournalMortality
Volume28
Issue number4
Early online date2 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funder


Funding Information: We would like to thank the True Colours Trust, who funded this research.

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • child loss
  • communication
  • death of a child
  • interview-based study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy

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