Post-bereavement care

Senior clinicians in some trusts have a policy of offering to meet the families of those who died in their Emergency Department several weeks later. This provides an opportunity for them to ask questions or clarify aspects of their loved one’s care.

If the death has been traumatic or upsetting for staff, it may also be useful to hold a debriefing session for them to explore any issues that have arisen and hear their suggestions for improvement.

A range of quality measures for palliative care in the emergency department has been developed which can be audited to assess the effectiveness of any ED palliative care initiatives25. It has also been suggested that these deaths could be reviewed in more detail at departmental morbidity and mortality meetings to assess if there were missed opportunities for advance care planning or improvement17.