Bereavement support to help families through loss is offered in less than one third of intensive care units in Australia despite more than 46 percent of family members reporting a need for bereavement services
To help families deal with the grief, the stress of a loss and help answer questions and concerns, the Foundation funded a research project within the Adult ICU called LOSS (Loved One Support Service) through the Louisa Hope Fund for Nurses.
The program encourages ‘memory making’ and memory keepsake creations such as locks of hair and handprints for grieving family members. The program also provides follow-up phone calls to assist with unanswered questions as well as timely referral to community bereavement services if needed. Families are encouraged to be open to visitation during end-of-life care in order to create a soft, safe, and comfortable space for patients and families.
On behalf of the Foundation, we commemorate Melissa for her dedication and passion for patients and families going through these challenging times. Melissa says “It is a multidisciplinary program, so other professions such as social work or ICU medical teams can play a role in offering support. Creating LOSS as a formal end-of-life/ bereavement program, is particularly useful for newer ICU nurses as this program gives them directions and a plan to follow to deliver patient and family centred care.”