good life, good death, good grief

Ideas for …

'High-risk' professions

Death affects everyone, but people working in certain areas are likely to experience higher than average incidences of death in their workplaces.

For example, funeral directors and those working in the emergency services, armed forces and health and social care, are likely to experience death relatively frequently.

People in these roles are likely to find themselves in a position to provide support to people (including colleagues) who are dying or bereaved, and also have to deal with thoughts of death, dying and bereavement on a more personal level.

If you work within one of these professions, is there anything you can do to support others through, or to prepare yourself for, experiences related to death, dying and bereavement within your working life?

Is there anything that you can do towards creating a culture within your organisation, whereby people expect to receive organisational support and support from colleagues in coming to terms with these issues?

For example:

  • It has been suggested that a useful event would be an annual emergency services round table for paramedics, police, fire fighters and other emergency workers who deal with sudden death on an everyday basis in the community. An annual “round table” could be an opportunity for them to discuss organisational ways that recognise and support the special stresses and satisfactions of their work
  • It has been argued that health and social care professionals and volunteers must have the time and space to come to terms with the deaths of patients. They must have opportunities to reflect and explore issues relating to their own mortality and the mortality of others. It is likely that this applies to other jobs where workers frequently have to deal with death, dying and bereavement
  • Education plays a role, and people who work in jobs where they may have to initiate or participate in discussion on death, dying and bereavement should have the opportunity to participate in death awareness education programmes
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