Loss, Change, and Bereavement in Palliative Care

Loss, Change, and Bereavement in Palliative Care

Loss, Change, and Bereavement in Palliative Care

Loss, Change, and Bereavement in Palliative Care


"For anyone seeking to develop their understanding of loss and change, whether in a palliative care of general or social care setting, this book contains much useful material which can be taken selectively or in its entirety."
Hospise Information Bulletin
  • How do professionals meet the needs of bereaved people?
  • How do professionals undertake best practice with individuals, groups, families and communities?
  • What are the implications for employing research to influence practice?
This book provides a resource for working with a complex range of loss situations and includes chapters on childhood bereavement, and individual and family responses to loss and change. It contains the most up-to-date work in the field presented by experienced practitioners and researchers and is relevant not only for those working in specialist palliative care settings, but for professionals in general health and social care sectors.

Strong links are maintained between research and good practice throughout the book. These are reinforced by the coherent integration of international research material and the latest thinking about loss and bereavement. Experts and clinicians draw upon their knowledge and practice, whilst the essential perspective of the service user is central to this book.

Loss, Change and Bereavement in Palliative Care provides essential reading for a range of professional health and social care disciplines practising at postgraduate or post-registration/qualification level. It challenges readers, at an advanced level, on issues of loss, change and bereavement.

Lesley Adshead, Jenny Altschuler, Peter Beresford, Grace Christ, Suzy Croft, Pam Firth, Shirley Firth, Richard Harding, Felicity Hearn, Jennie Lester, Gill Luff, Linda Machin, Jan McLaren, David Oliviere, Ann Quinn, Phyllis Silverman, Jean Walker, Karen Wilman.


In the spring of 1993 my father suffered an aortic aneurism and was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery. On hearing the news I left my office at the university and drove north about 100 miles to be with my mother as quickly as I could. I am the youngest of three and my two older brothers were both outside the country, one living in Portugal, the other on holiday in France. On the first evening my mother and I were shocked at the turn of events, but imbued with plenty of fighting spirit that my father would pull though the surgery and make some sort of recovery. I pushed away thoughts about his declining trajectory in the months prior and tried not to think too hard about what his future quality of life might be like.

Around midnight we were admitted to the intensive care unit where my father had been taken after his operation. I remember being surprised by the noise of the machines and the brightness of the lights. We stayed awhile at the bedside trying to take in the details of his situation and where it might be leading

Returning the following morning, we began to learn the routines that would shape my father's care in the coming days: the technical monitoring, the constant attention, and the respectful and caring way in which the nurses looked after their unconscious patient. My brothers arrived from distant places, we stayed at the family home and with my mother at the centre of things, we shared in a daily bedside presence. I got to know and to like the staff in the intensive care unit, though my question about whether we would move to palliative care at some point received a rather blank response. One day when I had returned home to my own young family and to deal with things at work, my father regained consciousness and was briefly weaned off the ventilator. It was a precious moment for my mother and my two brothers.

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