It is important for mental health providers to understand the predictors of parental bereavement, protective factors buffering against complicated bereavement, appropriate assessment tools, and bereavement interventions and support programs.
Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) August 26, 2014
The loss of a child can present profound emotional challenges for parents given an underlying assumption that parents will not outlive their offspring. This assumption makes pediatric death an extremely painful reality and tragic loss for many parents. It is important for health care providers to acknowledge the unique aspects of this kind of death as some parents/families/survivors may require professional help to navigate through and cope with this profound loss. HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC, CA-BBS) provider of online continuing education (CE) for mental health professionals, is pleased to announce an important new CE course titled, Parental Bereavement Following the Loss of a Child, to its extensive library of online CE courses for psychologists, social workers, counselors, marital and family therapists, and other allied healthcare professionals. The information provided in this online CE course will guide mental health professionals in caring for those who are trying to cope with this devastating loss.
Many healthcare professionals will be called upon to care for an individual grieving the loss of a child at some point in his/her career. According to the March of Dimes, an estimated 19% of the U.S. adult population has experienced the death of a child (this includes miscarriages through adult-aged children). While the death of a child is relatively rare, less than 1% of deaths in the U.S. annually (Heron et al., 2010), the grief associated with losing a child is often prolonged, complex and life-long in its effect on surviving parents and family (Holland, 2014).
The gravity of parental bereavement is illustrated in The Parental Bereavement Act introduced in the Senate in February 2013. Overall, it amended the Family and Medical leave Act of 1993 to entitle an eligible employee to up to 12 work weeks of leave during any 12-month period due to the death of a son or daughter. This societal paradigm shift parallels the movement in professional training programs calling for better preparation in addressing death and dying in their patient population.
Healthcare professionals are in a unique position to provide support and facilitate the comprehensive and compassionate care of bereaved parents and families with a sensitivity to and understanding for the specialized (e.g., palliative care; emergency trauma) and tailored (e.g., age/developmentally appropriate; family-centered) approach necessary (e.g., Heron et al., 2010). It is important for mental health providers to understand the predictors of parental bereavement, protective factors buffering against complicated bereavement, appropriate assessment tools, and bereavement interventions and support programs. This course reviews this knowledge base to assist psychologists, social workers, counselors, and allied health care professionals in their care of grieving parents.
After completing this course, health professionals will better understand the prevalence of pediatric death and the possible risk factors and predictors of complicated grief. In addition, health professionals will recognize patterns of parental bereavement, allowing for the differentiation between ‘normal’ and complicated bereavement. Lastly, mental health professionals taking this online CE course will be better able to integrate theory- and evidence-based interventions, as well as self-help or alternative resources, into their clinical care of grieving families.
Mental health professionals can choose from HFO’s 20 categories of continuing education (CE) topics related to health psychology and behavioral medicine containing over 95 online CE courses that are fast, convenient and cost-effective. Visit our Pediatric Behavioral Medicine category to see information on other online CE courses for mental health professionals working with children and families and see Bereavement: A Comprehensive Guide for Health Professionals for another important course related to therapeutically facilitating grief. For a complete listing of titles in our online CE resource library, visit HealthForumOnline.com.
Heron, M., Sutton, P.D., Xu, J., Ventura, S.J., Strobino, D.M., & Geyer, B. (2010). Annual summary of vital statistics: 2007. Pediatrics, 125(1), 4-15.
Holland, L. (2014). Lost But Never Forgotten: The Voices of Bereaved Parents of Vulnerable Road User Fatalities. Available at http://csusm-dspace.calstate.edu/handle/10211.3/120669