LOGO - Beaumont Hospital


LOGO Beaumont Hospital Palliative Care Study Day Grief and the Healthcare worker Pauline King Staff Counsellor Beaumont Hospital

Michael Kearney, M.D. Quote

“ No matter what we might do to make it easier, death remains the ultimate separation, the ultimate unknown”

Hazards to Occupational Health.

 Compassion Fatigue.

 Vicarious trauma.

 Burnout.

Burnout:Palliative care

 Multiple losses.

 Attachments.

 Workload.

 Lack of Institutional support.

 Interprofessional conflict.

 Expectations

Preventative strategies:

 Personal  Self Awareness  Mentor  Support system  Spiritual/Meditative practice  Team  Healthy working relationships.

 Formal supports (MDTM)  Rituals.

The Grieving Healthcare Worker

 “ Detached concern” (Lief & Fox 1963)  Research by Dania Papadatou 2000.

 Identified the difference between “burnout” and “grief”  Health care professionals do grieve and a healthy fluctuation between experiencing and avoiding feelings of grief occurs.

 This fluctuation is necessary, adaptive and healthy.

Experiencing Grief

“Life Style”

Idiosyncratic beliefs values assumptions about self, others, life.

Personal Loss-history Meaning making & Loss transcendence Avoiding Or repressing Grief

“Work Style”

Unit’s goals, values assumptions about care in Illness, dying, death Rules regarding professional conduct.

Nature of losses:  Unique bond.

 Sympathetic grief.

 Goals and expectations.

 Beliefs & assumptions.

 Restimulation of personal loss.

 Mortality.

Grief reactions


 Moving away.

 Psychic numbing.

 Avoidance.

 Practical tasks.

 Dehumanisation.


“ Brain hygiene”-Siegal

 Step out of automatic pilot.

 Create a gap between reactivity and response.

 Develop capacity for:  Curiosity  Openness  Acceptance  Loving Kindness

This being human is a guest-house Every morning a new arrival A joy, a depression, a meanness, Some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, Who violently sweep your house Empty of its furniture.

Still treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out for some new delight The dark thought, the shame, the malice, Meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent As a guide from beyond.