The experience and support needs of adult family members who face a sudden adult death: A systematic review study
Keywords:Death, Sudden, Support, Family, Adult, Professional
This systematic review explored the experiences of adult family members with support from professional service providers when faced a sudden death of an adult family.
The reviewers used Joanna Briggs Institute methods, tools and software. Database searches were carried out, including in ASSIA, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsychArticles. These were supplemented with searches of e-thesis databases, and specialist law sites. Studies were identified for inclusion if they were qualitative, written in English and published between 1990 and December 2021.
The review identified family members received support at the time of a sudden death from a range of sources. However, there are differences in timing and content and for some relatives, barriers to access and unmet needs. Experiences of support from professionals were varied and some had more positive outcomes than others. A relationship between the family member and the professional perceived as supportive led to benefits in relation to processing grief.
While informal support and information is essential for relatives, anticipation of needs and appropriate responses require regulated professionals and organisations who encounter the bereaved to be visible, accessible, skilled and able to respond. It is recommended this is formalised in standards or protocols for support in relation to sudden death situations.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Audrey Stephen, Fiona Baguley
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This article first appeared in Bereavement online [date] bereavementjournal.org