A Reflection On The Bereavement Period

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Death may be seen as one’s final journey in life. As defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (n.d.), death is the permanent cessation of all vital organ systems, specifically the circulatory and respiratory systems. Throughout the dying process, nurses play a vital role in caring for both the patient as well as their family. In order to properly and effectively care for the dying patient and their family, the nurse must first examine their beliefs and feelings regarding death and the dying process. It is important to have a deep understanding that while all people may experience grief with the loss of a loved one, how that grief is expressed may be influenced by many different factors. This paper will define and explain the bereavement period, the nurse’s role in disenfranchised grief, as well as the four tasks of mourning.
Bereavement Period The bereavement period is the public or external display of mourning following the death of a loved one. Bereavement is a vital, yet often overlooked, area of care. Cooley (1992) proves that the earlier interventions are started, negative outcomes of grief are minimized. The bereavement period is often an unpredictable and complex style of care that requires continuous adjustment for the nurse (Johnson, 2015). When experiencing bereavement, it can be seen as one trying to adjust to the loss of a loved one (Cooley, 1992). The length of the bereavement period often depends on several factors such as the age at the time of loss, the
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