SIDS Program Manual SIDS & Infant Death Program Manual and Trainer's Guide Trainer's Guide


Bereavement Support Training

Professional education is needed to support bereavement care that is competent, continuous and coordinated. Because most infant and child deaths are sudden and unexpected, specialized training is essential for a number of health care professionals including first responders, emergency department nurses, labor and delivery nurses, newborn nursery nurses, NICU nurses, palliative care nurses, child care providers, physicians, social workers, program managers, fetal infant mortality review staff and genetics counselors.

State program staff activities may include:

  • Ensuring access for staff to continuing education in bereavement counseling and information.
  • Acting as an advocate for the training needs of local health care providers.
  • Providing, funding or co-sponsoring training for local community-based programs, health departments, managed care organizations, hospitals and others.
  • Collaborating with ethnic organizations, civic organizations and private providers to address training needs with respect to cultural competency.
  • Collaborating with State professional organizations to support continuing education courses, especially on underserved and minority populations.
  • Developing trainings that take a multi-disciplinary approach and work with families and professionals from a wide range of backgrounds.
  • Providing discipline-specific training such as trainings for child care providers, public health nurses, first responders and EMTs.
  • Coordinating peer contact support and providing training and education to individuals willing to become peer contacts.

The majority of children who die are transported to hospitals or clinics. As such, hospitals need to develop protocols for informing and counseling parents whose children have died. The National Association of Social Workers has developed bereavement guidelines for social workers in emergency room settings to assist staff in addressing sensitive issues such as medical examiner referrals, organ and tissue donation, funeral home identification, notification of family, completion of death records and release of the body.