How to use


The Modules are one component of the multi-component bereavement intervention developed for the purpose of the “ICU BEREAVE” study co-led by Dr. James Downar and Dr. Brandi Vanderspank-Wright. The ICU BEREAVE study is exploring the feasibility of a multi-component bereavement intervention to support family members following the death of a loved one in the ICU in an effort to mitigate their risk of developing a severe grief reaction. The modules provide guidance for understanding and supporting families in acute grief and outlines practical strategies to sensitively intervene. The modules are relevant to ICU clinicians at all stages of their career from students to veterans. In addition to improving understanding of grief in an ICU context and ways in which clinicians can affect it, the modules highlight ways to address difficult scenarios with family members before and after a patient dies. The content provides direction from the moment families walk in the door through to post-death interventions and reflections to assist you in delivering the highest quality care. was developed by a team of national ICU grief experts together with ICU clinicians and family members of former ICU patients who passed away (See Who developed It compliments any existing counselling or related health care services you have available to you in ICU.

Where does the content come from?

The content for comes from several sources: peer-reviewed and published literature, including current bereavement research; the clinical expertise of the expert contributors; and family members who shared their stories of loss.The literature cited below has informed the content of either directly or indirectly. We are indebted to those who research, educate and practice in the field of grief for sharing their wisdom and moving the field of bereavement support forward. For more elaborate description and discussion of the concepts and topics presented in the modules, please see the accompanying document here: Link to full ICU Grief Content Document.

A note about language

For content flow, the term “family” is used to encompass all those in the person’s care network or who may be impacted by the person’s death. Similarly, the term “patient” is used throughout to refer to the person who is seriously ill or dying. It is a fundamental tenant of quality palliative care that clinicians see the patient as a person first and foremost.

Is there a charge for using is free to Canadian users. A small fee of $25 USD is levied on out-of-country residents. This provides unlimited access for a period of three months. Users can re-register as often as they wish for additional payments of the $25 USD fee.

How do I use

There are three primary modules and one optional module; each includes text and video clips. The modules flow in a logical order, so we suggest you start with module 1 and progress accordingly. You can use as many or as few times as you need: decide what works best for you.

Getting started
  • Locate the series of images and titles part way down the home page. There are 4 modules. The last module is optional.
  • Select module 1. You will be taken to a login screen and asked to provide a username, password and your affiliation
  • Complete login.
  • Hover over an image and a module descriptor will be revealed.
  • Click “Start” to begin the module. To optimise understanding, we suggest that you work through the sections from start to finish.
  • Use the “Previous” and “Next” options at the bottom of the page to scroll through the module.
  • Navigate among pages using the list of modules, chapters and topics on the left hand side.
  • Click a module to reveal the topics covered. You can navigate to any module, chapter, or page using this list. You can stop at any time and your place in the course will be saved.


  • Click on the > button to start.
  • Select "insert image” to view the video on full screen.
  • Click the red button or the X to close the video.
What if I become distressed?

It is possible that the content may evoke uncomfortable or strong emotions. If this happens, you may wish to stop viewing the module and attend to yourself. (You can return to the content later, as you wish.) You may want to contact a trusted colleague or friend, or a supportive counsellor. You can also connect with a health professional by selecting our Ask a Professional feature to pose a confidential question. A member of the Canadian Virtual Hospice interdisciplinary clinical team will respond within three business days.

Can I use on my cellphone or tablet? is compatible with all platforms. You can scroll through it using cellphones, tablets and personal computers. It has been tested in all browsers.

What if I have questions?

If you have questions regarding the content, you can use our Ask a Professional feature. A member of the Canadian Virtual Hospice team will respond within 3 business days not including Canadian statutory holidays.

What if I have technical problems?

While we have made every effort to ensure a positive user experience, we know that technical difficulties can occur. If you have trouble accessing, logging in, or with any of the content, please contact There is no charge for technical support for

Disclaimer and Privacy provides general guidance for ICU Clinicians for understanding and supporting families in acute grief and outlines practical strategies to sensitively intervene. This information is not meant to replace professional services. Individuals who use this content do so by their own choice. While care has been taken to ensure that this course reflects the state of general knowledge and expert consensus about end-of-life and grief at the date of publication, Canadian Virtual Hospice does not make any warranty or guarantee in respect to any of the contents or information in nor accept responsibility or liability whatsoever for any errors or omissions, regardless of whether those errors or omissions were made negligently or otherwise. For further information, view our Privacy Policy and Legal Notices.