Supporting the Family After the Death of a Child

ArticleinPEDIATRICS 130(6) · November 2012with5 Reads
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-2772 · Source: PubMed
The death of a child can have a devastating effect on the family. The pediatrician has an important role to play in supporting the parents and any siblings still in his or her practice after such a death. Pediatricians may be poorly prepared to provide this support. Also, because of the pain of confronting the grief of family members, they may be reluctant to become involved. This statement gives guidelines to help the pediatrician provide such support. It describes the grief reactions that can be expected in family members after the death of a child. Ways of supporting family members are suggested, and other helpful resources in the community are described. The goal of this guidance is to prevent outcomes that may impair the health and development of affected parents and children.
    • "An entire lifetime of memories must often be compressed into days, hours, or even minutes. One approach to meeting these grief needs is providing memory-making activities with transitional objects (Wender, 2012) such as tangible keepsakes that create a connection with and make meaningful memories about the deceased child (Capitulo, 2005). Transitional objects include footprints, fi ngerprints (either in ink or cast), locks of hair, pictures, articles of clothing, a child's belongings, or symbolic keepsakes (Arentz & Klos, 1996; Capitulo, 2005; Doran & Downing Hansen, 2006; Gibson, 2004; Harper, O'Connor, Dickson, & O'Carroll, 2011; Perry, 2008; Whitaker, Kavanaugh, & Klima, 2010). "
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