I had the pleasure of working with Cheryl, Tyne and Chelsea to co-author this article focused on improving the role of paramedics in supporting those who are grieving or recently bereaved. The abstract and link to full-text are below.
Paramedics are frequently present at the death of patients and are in a position to provide grief support to family members who are suddenly bereaved, but existing education and system resources have failed to provide paramedics with the necessary tools to do so. Although the literature emphasizes the importance of providing grief training from initial education, through clinical placements and into continuing professional development opportunities, the current state across all health professions is a patchwork of elective, brief, and siloed opportunities. With new interprofessional partnerships developing between paramedicine and palliative care, there is a unique opportunity to better prepare paramedics to adequately participate in the death and dying process and address developing competency in grief support in a more strategic and integrated manner. We suggest employing a multi-faceted approach, focused on recruitment, initial and continuing education, and continued support in clinical practice. Importantly, paramedics will require support from interprofessional colleagues in palliative, grief and bereavement care to provide expertise in our educational programs, clinical placements, and support at the patient’s bedside. Now is the time to address grief support across the full continuum of paramedic practice to ensure paramedics are competent to support recently bereaved families.