Chapter 2: When death occurs
“We aren’t taught in school how to deal with situations we can’t fix. But I have learned with time how important the symbolic human touch can be for many people.When the patient died, the entire team was around the bedside. There was a real sense of community that I think helped everyone get through that moment”. - ICU Nurse
This chapter offers suggestions for providing support to families at the moment of death, particularly where a death is traumatic. Regardless of how prepared a family is for the death, it will be an intense and difficult time. Consideration is given to whether or not family members were present, and to the difficulties many families have in leaving the room after death has occurred or their decision to not be present as the patient died. It will also be important to read family cues prior to providing support, as some families may wish to be left alone.