Your web browser is outdated and may be insecure

The RCN recommends using an updated browser such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome

elderly man being comforted


Bereavement is usually thought of in the context of someone dying, which of course it is but there are many other times when people experience bereavement and as nurses we need to recognise this and be able to support people in reaching some sort of acceptance.

People can experience grief and sorrow at losing a limb, a breast or being disfigured. Many people feel bereaved when a child leaves home for the first time or friends move away. For carers and friends supporting a dying person they can often experience anticipatory grief or in the case of someone whose partner has dementia or cognitive impairment grief for the loss of the person they knew.

We need to be able to discuss peoples feeling with them, if appropriate signpost them to support networks, involve other colleagues – for people of faith their Church, mosque, synagogue may provide comfort and in the NHS the Chaplaincy service can be helpful.

We also need to acknowledge that non family members and professional can experience grief when someone they are caring for dies. In care home settings other residents are also bereaved and need support. Grief affects everyone differently and we need to understand the normal grieving process, how it can manifest itself and recognise when it is more complex and signpost people to specialist help. The following resources may be of help to you in ensuring that you are able to support yourself, colleagues and the people you care for when they are grieving.

Bereavement resources

BEAD - Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs. This site is a source of information and support for anyone bereaved through drug or alcohol use.

Child Bereavement UK. Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. 

Coroner’s Society of England and Wales

Cruse - Cruse Bereavement Care is the leading national charity for bereaved people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We offer support, advice and information to children, young people and adults when someone dies and work to enhance society’s care of bereaved people.

National Association of Funeral Directors - Established in 1905, the NAFD represents the interests of the entire spectrum of funeral directing business, including independent businesses, the Co-operative and major funeral groups. 

NHS Choices - Bereavement. 

Page last updated - 04/04/2024