Supporting Adults with an Intellectual Disability during Experiences of Loss and Bereavement: Staff views, experiences and suggestions for training.

McEvoy J., Guerin S., Dodd P., Hillery J.,

Keywords: Intellectual disability • bereavement • staff training.

Reported: Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 2009

(30 Jul 2009)

The experiences of staff supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities through bereavement and loss were explored using focus groups. Staff described a variety of forms of loss experienced by people with intellectual disabilities. While acknowledging post bereavement changes in behaviour staff reported that in general service users’ reactions to loss were similar to those observed in the typical population. Staff reported using practical support strategies with service users often based on their own life experiences. A lack of confidence and uncertainty, particularly around operational procedures following bereavement, was alluded to. Staff commented on what they perceived as conflicting attitudes between themselves and the service agency around bereavement support procedures and a lack of awareness of the emotional impact of grief on service users and staff. Staff also commented on the lack of policy and guidelines and the need for quality information, skill development and further training. The study is part of a larger action research project and the findings will be used to inform future training initiatives and interventions

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