Chapter 1: Strategies for intervening in anticipatory grief and trauma

Preparing the room

"They moved him to a quiet room at the end of the hallway. It became a kind of sacred ground; we were given privacy, the staff was extra quiet, and they even parked a refreshment cart outside the room…I felt very respected. At the time I was unaware of all the things the staff was doing for us, but looking back it made all the difference”. - Family Member

Roll your mouse over each of the boxes below to further explore each tip on how to help families by preparing the patient's room

Devise an “end of life” symbol to post on the patient’s door.

This will let other team members know that a patient is dying (e.g., a white rose or a butterfly on the door to the patient’s room) so that noise and other distractions can be kept to a minimum.

Offer a “compassion cart”.

It can include refreshments and snacks, which allows family to stay at the bedside.

Reduce noise as much as possible.

Families often find it easier to witness the dying process if equipment around the patient is minimized such that the setting is as natural as possible.

Provide a quiet, private low traffic area.

If the patent cannot be moved to a quieter room, be clear about this and offer an apology.  See the conversation prompt below.


Conversation Prompts

“We’re very sorry that we’re unable to move him to a private space. We know this must be difficult for you”.