Information for professionals – funeral attendance
On the question of funeral attendance the report, Saying goodbye: An audit of bereavement services in the Women's and Children's Hospital Network, states18;
The [parent] survey data showed that, for those who mentioned staff attendance at their child’s funeral, it was very much appreciated. However, as the literature reported, discrepancies in staff attendance can be a source of distress for some parents.
The [staff] focus groups revealed, [ ] there are a number of different practices across different wards in relation to whether staff are encouraged to attend funerals or not, and to what extent they see it as a professional activity.
The report recommends the organisation recognises the need for clinical representation, while ensuring consistency in attendance across family/client groups.
- provides support to both the family and the professional
- is a professional activity rather than a personal one
- requires consistent and equitable behaviour on the part of the professional
- declare funeral attendance to colleagues
- seek support and schedule self-care after the funeral.
Points to consider for an organisation:
- have an organisation based policy re attendance
- employer support to attend in work time
- attend as professional with uniform/badge on display
- inform work about attendance even out of work hours
- provide support for attendees – consider type and timing of follow-up after attending
- limit numbers of attendees and ensure equity to all families.
19 Kotey, J. Duffield, J & Fleming, S. 2012, Saying goodbye: An audit of
bereavement services in the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Network, pp. 37-39.
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