Chapter 2: Strategies to assess and engage with families

Assessing grief and trauma risk

“What really works is knowing the families in your care”. - ICU family advisor

A timely assessment for grief and the risk of trauma can ensure that families receive the support and services they need, both while in your care and later on.

If you and your team can develop a strong relationship with a family prior to a patient’s death, this can lessen the risk of their experiencing traumatic grief, and even if a family member has serious difficulties later on, they may be more likely to seek out the services of a professional.

Conversation Prompts

“How are you managing the stress of all this”?

*An awareness of how people are coping can help you to identify those who may benefit from additional support.

“Are there other stresses happening in your life”?

*This will alert you to other sources of stress, such as divorce, job loss, or personal illness, any of which can increase a person’s risk of grief and trauma.