Bereavement in the Pediatric Emergency Department: Caring for Those Who Care for Others
Brittany Lynn Jackson
One of the most difficult challenges faced by pediatric emergency department (ED)
nurses and physicians is the death of a child, which is often sudden and traumatic.
ED healthcare providers experience stress and grief related to the nature of death,
resuscitation, death process, providing bereavement services to the child’s family,
and ED-specific factors. Other emotional reactions, such as sense of guilt related
to perceived failure, are also experienced. The emotional strain endured, however,
is frequently unacknowledged and untreated. Addressing and managing these
emotional reactions by way of discussion, education/training, and department support
can aid in mitigating stress, decreasing risk of long-term effects, and allowing
staff to continue to provide high-quality patient care. The aim of this article is to
demonstrate the impact of pediatric ED deaths on nurses and physicians involved,
and identify practices to best care for these providers.