Walking Alongside: A guide for health professionals caring for a dying child
Conversations with parents about their child’s dying are never going to be easy. If you don’t have much experience or training in this area, the best way to gain an understanding of that experience is to listen to others who have been there before.
The Walking Alongside video and Conversations Starters Guide are designed for health professionals who do not regularly encounter paediatric patients with life-limiting illnesses and/or paediatric deaths. They present the insights of a group of professionals that regularly cares for patients in these situations such as specialist palliative care and paediatric oncology teams.
whichever stage you meet a family during their child’s illness, if the child dies the memory of your interactions and relationship as a health professional may become part of the family’s experience of bereavement.
This kind of communication with parents shouldn’t be limited to families whose child’s illness has been pronounced incurable. Research tells us that the interactions parents have with health professionals in the community and in hospital – from the point of diagnosis onwards – has a considerable impact on their experience of bereavement.
There is a perception that specific professions are responsible for family members’ wellbeing around end-of-life and bereavement: social workers, palliative care and bereavement specialists.
In reality, compassionate care is everyone’s business.
Conversation Starters Guide
Conversation Starters are a package of resources to support health professionals to reflect and discuss with colleagues how best to support a family through the end of their child’s life, and into bereavement.