An older person may grieve due to a decline in physical, mental or cognitive health. It is also important to acknowledge that a resident’s family members might start to grieve before their death. Healthdirect has a webpage on understanding anticipatory grief. CareSearch provides an overview about abnormal grief. The Agency for Clinical Innovation has an educational video on bereavement. PalliAGED offers a variety of resources to learn more about grief, loss and bereavement. There are links to a guide for assessing bereavement and support, and a tool to distinguish between depression and grief.
“Intense and persistent symptoms of distress following the death of a family member or friend. Significant mental and physical health problems may be present, for example, insomnia, depression, cardiac problems, substance misuse, cancer, suicide, depressed immune function and work and social impairment. Also known as complicated grief.”3(p37)
Grief Australia offers education for the wider community to improve grief and bereavement knowledge. Education and training programs are offered as seminars, workshops, courses, conferences, webinars and customised training that meet the specific needs of organisations and agencies. You can find more information on bereavement support.
Also the ACGB website has available the Bereavement Support Standards for Specialist Palliative Care Services that was designed for use by professionals to support all carers and people going through bereavement who have an increased risk of developing prolonged or complicated grief or have current psychosocial and/or spiritual distress. This set of set of bereavement support standards was developed in collaboration with the Victorian Government Department of Health and the Centre for Palliative Care.
palliAGED has downloadable Practice Tips on grief and loss among older people, families and residents for Nurses (pdf 245kb) and Careworkers. (pdf 440kb)
Page updated 10 October 2023