An exploration of the supports received by people with intellectual disabilities who have been bereaved

Ursula McGarry, Laurence Taggart

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about the views of the primary and secondary support offeredto people with intellectual disabilities by formal carers around the time of a death of aloved one. This paper investigates the perceptions of the types of support provided byfront-line staff to this population at the time of, and following, bereavement.In total, 11 people with intellectual disabilities participated in semi-structuredinterviews. Practical supports (for example, involvement in events surrounding thedeath and access to the rites of passage) provided to these individuals were reportedto be positive interventions, whereas the provision of emotional support (forexample, formal and informal supportive counselling) by front-line staff were citedby the participants to be lacking. The use of alternative approaches (for example,reminiscence work, the creation of a life story book/family tree, art therapy andpictorial material) was also reported to be limited.These findings highlight the need for education and training to provide front-linestaff caring for people with intellectual disabilities with the insights, knowledge andskills necessary to practically and emotionally support this population who are facingthe loss of a loved one. In addition, these training needs should be aligned withongoing managerial and specialist bereavement supports, so that the specific needsof people with intellectual disabilities can be fully addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-144
JournalJournal of Research in Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Mar 2007


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