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Supporting Significant Life Events and Their Social Networks

University: Regent College

  • Unit No: 15
  • Level: Post Graduate/University
  • Pages: 15 / Words 3677
  • Paper Type: Assignment
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  • Downloads: 345922

Table of Content



Helping people during significant life changes is crucial because lack of support or guidance can lead to negative consequences for both individuals and society (Graves, 2009). This report explores the effects of these events on individuals, their reactions, and the responses from different groups. It also focuses on how health and social care organizations support those going through such experiences.


Physical, psychological and social impact of bereavement of individuals

In the present case, it was seen that Mrs. Garry died of bowel cancer, and due to her illness and eventual death, George was very upset, tensed and confused. Many studies and researches into this topic have stated that significant life events can have either positive or negative impact on lives of an individual (Ross, 1973). Because of illness and death of her mother, George was very upset and sad, due to which he was physically and mentally not in a very good condition. One of the physical effects that he could experience due to this event is loss of appetite. It is one of the common resultants of such events on life of an individual. In such cases, they may not like to consume any edible item as they lose all of their interest in eating food or drinking. Physical events can also be seen in hygiene of the person.   

Apart from this, due to such life events, a person also gets mentally ill, disturbed and irritated. Stress is the most common form of effect in these kinds of situations. This effect can be seen through the case study, where George felt a lot of pressure, as he was not able to give full time to his own family and also to his mother, who was very ill (Thomas, Mason and Ford, 2003). In addition to it, he did not have previous experience in taking care of a person who was on the deathbed, nor was he getting any kind of support from the hospital, which kept him in a further stressful situation. In addition to it, such events also have considerable impact on social life and well being of the individual. This aspect can better be understood through the fact that people who experience such troubles start to cut themselves off from their social circles and withdraw from family, friends, colleagues, etc. Similarly, Mrs. Garry also faced a lot of psychological, sociological impact. One of them was that she was under extreme stress which can be supported through fact that she had stopped eating and was just counting her last days in the hospital. Dramatic reduction in weight was another physical impact that Mrs. Garry had to suffer because of bowel cancer that she was suffering from. She also missed the school staff where she used to teach, which clearly indicates impact of social factors on her.

Possible group responses to bereavement  

In cases of bereavement, one of the most vital aspects for the bereaved person is that of the support that they might receive from a wide number of people and groups associated with such concepts. There are many types of groups that such individuals can look forward to receive any support from. It includes the likes of family members, friends, religious communities, colleagues, etc. For such individuals to be able to handle the pressure and shock of losing their loved and closed ones, it is important that they get proper support from such groups (Nolan, 2005).

There are a number of ways in which such groups can help and extend their support to the concerned individual. Family can respond by been there for each other, assisting with house chores, shopping and child care issues. Families can assist by vising and staying with the individual in the hospital, praying and keeping the individual company. In the case study, George responded by taking time off from work and been by the mother side until she died. Also George assisted with the burial of his mother and fulfilling his mother last wish. There was no mention the case study about the support that George's immediate family offered to George. George can receive help from his family members in terms of moral support and assist in arranging funeral for his mother. In addition to this, they can also support him by carrying out various domestic duties and maintain the house which Mrs. Garry used to live and also advise him on whether or not the house as well as her belongings should be sold or not. Get Assignment help by our Experts!

Similarly, friends and colleagues can also provide moral and emotional support to George so that he can handle the shock of her mother's death properly (Schwarzer, 2000). Colleagues can send flowers and sign cards and send to the individuals. They can also contribute money especially for funeral or send flowers to the individuals. Colleagues can also respond by offering to cover the individuals shift for example in hospital. In the case study there was responds by the colleagues of Mrs Garry, they supported George to fulfil his mother last wish.

On the other hand, religious groups and communities can provide help to George in conducting Mrs. Garry's funeral properly and to fulfill her last wish(es).  The faith groups can respond by praying for the individual, hospital visitation as well as financial contribution. In the case study there was no mention of any of such support from George and Mrs Garry's social network.

Impact for others in health and social care when an individual is bereaved

Bereavement is such an aspect of health and social care as well as that of individuals that it significantly affects other people associated with it in a significant manner as well. One group of individuals who get influenced by it in a substantial manner are the health and social care professionals (Glasby, 2012). Doctors, nurses, care givers, etc. get affected by death of an individual that they may be treating adversely. People who suffer from significant life events when die leave a significant social and emotional impact on the health care professionals they come in contact with. In many studies it has been seen that in addition to family members and friends, being upset due to death of their loved one, but so is the case with staff members working in health care institutions and has been associated with the patient. This is because of the reason that they create an emotional bonding with not only the one who is being treated, but also with their family members, friends and relatives. It has been observed that due to such bonding, health care professionals, feel very bad due death of the person whom they may have been treating. Another reason which describes the reason for physical, social and emotional impact that they feel is that they are the ones who were treating them; and death of the patient would damage their reputation as a health care professional and thus be very bad for their career (Moss, 2012).

In the case study it can be seen that the nurse who came into before Mrs Garry took her last breath could either be suffering from compassionate fatigue or unresolved grief. It can also be that the nurse is not adequately trained in supporting individuals at the end of life stage. Thus Organisation should endeavor to train staff on stages of grief and dying. Also organisation should provide support such as counselling that will aid bereaved nurses to deal with their grief.

organizational policies

Effectiveness of organizational policies and procedures for supporting bereaved individual

Organizational policies and procedures have a very important role to play in providing support to those persons who are bereaved. These are critical to hospitals, mainly because of the reason that they help the management in developing as well as maintaining certain quality standards into their work and also ensure that effective health care services are provided to patients. In this context, there are a number of policies and norms which hospitals have to follow. It includes Shaping Bereavement Care, 2010; Standard for Bereavement Care, 2001, etc. All these provide guidelines and systems or procedures through which authorities can cater to a person that has been bereaved (SHAPING BEREAVEMENT CARE, 2010).

When a patient dies (2005) another set of regulation provides necessary help to the person who has experienced through significant life event such as death of a near and dear one. It is basically aimed at providing good care services by NHS hospitals and other health care institutions. The first section of this legislation states that employees of such organizations should be supportive and caring to the person who is on deathbed and also to their family members or relatives.  

On the other hand, Standards for bereavement care (2012) defines different benchmarks for safe and useful services to people, so as to help them get over the loss that they have suffered (Rickerson and et. al, 2005). Mrs. Garry was provided safe and effective treatment, but she was in the last stage of cancer, because of which she did not effectively respond to the cancer treatment and eventually died of the same. UK government along with the regulatory body of health and social care industry have updated these standards, mainly to ensure that hospitals provide the best and effective care services to people and also help them to get over the loss. Furthermore, hospital administration also ensured that data and information about Mrs. Garry as well as the medical issue she was suffering from does not get leaked to any third party.  

Therefore in this context it can be seen that organizational policies as well as industry standards are of great use apart from being effective in their work, as they help health care institutions to take care of bereaved individuals and also help them to lead a normal life after suffering loss of the loved one.  But in the present scenario, where Mrs. Garry died of bowel cancer, it can be said that policies and procedures adopted by the hospital were not at all useful, as they did not provide any kind of support to George in handling the loss of his mother. Additionally, they did not give help related to her burial and fulfillment of her last wishes.

How others in the social network may give support to bereaved individuals  

In case of death of an individual, the ones who are affected the most, includes likes of family members, relatives, friends, colleagues and management as well as staff who attended the individual (Lloyd and Cameron, 2005). Supporting bereaved individuals is very crucial, as death of their loved one means that they may break down both emotionally, psychologically and physically. It can be seen through the fact that such people tend to dislike to consume eatables and also get into habit of smoking and drinking, as they believe that it is the best method through which they can get over such a kind of loss. There are a lot of ways through which people in the social circle of bereaved ones can provide support.  

One such method is to constantly interact and communicate with the individuals. In many studies and previous researches, it has been observed that best way to help a bereaved person to get over loss of death of a loved one is to talk them through this phase (Ayres and Roy, 2009). In such scenarios, it is the best method and in most cases has a positive impact and thus helps the person to sustain the loss and lead a normal life. By doing so, not only the bereaved person can be restrained from sustaining a mental damage and fracture, but also aid them in getting over the loss and continue with their life.

Other than this, hospital staff and other such individuals can provide support to the bereaved one in terms of psychiatric help, where in an assessment of mental health of the person is done, so as to determine whether they are going through any mental trauma and then give them proper advice, so as to fight such problems and get over them. In addition to it, there is another way as well through which people in the social circle can provide support to the bereaved individual (Keesler, 2014). It is related to providing emotional support to the person. It entails that family members, friends and colleagues must spend time with such people, talk to them and be available all the times, so that the individual does not feel left out and alone. These are such times when bereaved people are not provided ample support they might suffer major damages in their personal, professional as well as social lives. Herein, not only do the hospital staffs have a very crucial role to play, but also friends, relatives, neighbors, etc. also have a critical role.

Suitability of external sources of support for bereaved individuals

Support, be it from any person or group is crucial for a bereaved individual, as it  helps them to handle the shock in a much better and effective manner. Essentially, there are two kinds of organizations in the UK - internal and external support organizations. For bereaved people, it is crucial that they get help from both such bodies. One of the most popular external organization in this context is that of the Curse Bereavement Care. It founded in 1959 and its main purpose is to promote health and well being of bereaved people in the country and to help them cope with the loss they have suffered (Faulkner and Nicholls, 2001). One of the main reasons behind why many people experiencing significant life events are refereed to this organization is, first they are provided free of cost care; secondly the charity organization conducts regular workshops and shares information with such people on a regular basis, so that they can effectively handle the loss of their close and loved ones (SantosLewis and Moital, 2013).This organisation would have been suitable for Gorge after his mother death as the would have provided him with psychological support that he needed to deal with his mother death.

Macmillan cancer

Possible organizational responses to needs to support individuals

For health and social care organizations working in the country, it is crucial that they provide support to not only the people they cater to, but also to their employees, so as to motivate them in a significant manner. Herein, it can be said that those health care professionals who treat people experiencing significant life events, it is imperative that the hospital supports them in an efficient and effective manner. There are a wide variety of ways and techniques, through such a support can be extended to health care personnel (Scragg, 2008). One of them is to provide them with effective counseling, so that they handle the death of the patient they may be suffering from. Through proper counseling sessions, the employees would get an opportunity to express their views on the death of person they may be providing health care services to. In addition to it, annual leaves can also be a very good option through which support can be provided to the health care professionals and help them to cope with death of the patient they were providing care to. Such kinds of leaves and day off would aid them to divert their minds from the incident of death and then take steps that would motivate them to improve their performance by identifying and understanding skills which they may not be possessing. Approach of flexible working hours can also be very helpful in this regard.

Furthermore, health and social organizations can look to procure latest and most effective tools and equipments, as it would enable them to provide effective and most optimal care to people suffering from significant life events. Such an approach would enable health care professionals in the organization to improve their performance by great margins, which would eventually help them in delivering effective care to the patients and try to improve their health and well being (Muldoon and Miller, 2005). Developing new care plans can also prove to be very useful in this regard.

Reflecting own contribution to supporting individuals

It is a well known fact that giving support to people who experience significant changes in their lives is of great importance. This is primarily because in such situations people tend to break down and stop living their lives. Thus, it is imperative for people associated with such individuals to be able to help them and bring their life back on track, no matter how it hard or difficult it may be (Aslib Social Sciences Group, 2005). 

In this context, I possess many skills which enable me to take care of such people and also make sure that they do not get into conditions of depression and over burden themselves with tension. For instance; I am very good at communicating with people, understanding them and giving them such advices through which they can easily handle the scenario of bereavement of their close and loved ones (Azelrod, 2013). Over the years, I have been talking to many people who experienced substantial changes in their life and help them to overcome the problems and issues they face during such time periods. Being able to communicative in a variety of ways are of great importance, because every individual has different needs and wants and also intensity of situation of every such person is different from one another (Lukinova, Myagkov and Shishkin, 2014). Other than this, my inter-relationship skills are of crucial nature in this context, as it helps me in not only interacting with people, but also in gaining a thorough understanding of them, with which I can in a much better way help them to get over the situation. While providing support to people with significant life experiences, I have learned that it is crucial that I possess a wide array of skills and abilities, as it would enable me to provide the best care and fulfill demands of the patients in an effective manner. Herein, I also learned that it is not an easy task to provide such care to the individuals as there are many areas and aspects which have to be paid a lot of attention to in this regard.

Recently a friend of mine lost his mother because of which he was in a state of shock and experienced mental and emotional breakdown. He had lost the need to eat food and became weak. In this regard, I had to support him so that he could face the situation of death of his mother easily and be able to lead a normal life. Herein, I used by excellent communication skills and tried to talk him out of the shock state and communicated with him on a regular basis, so that he does not feel isolated. I also extend my support to him by helping him manage the household work and his professional life as well.

Recommendations for improving support available in a care home

Making constant improvements and enhancements in the services that are provided to people or service users in a care home is of great importance. This is mainly because it helps health care institutions to much effectively help people (the patients) as well as their family members and relatives to go through such periods. There are a lot of areas where such organizations can improve themselves. For starters, necessary steps can be taken, so as to develop a new department at workplace that will interact with people who undergo severe changes in their lives such as bereavement and the likes. Thus, the health care firm can not only treat patients and cure them, but also help people to overcome difficult times and keep on living life the way they do. Apart from this, according to case study, hospitals and care homes can also start to provide burial services and assistance to people who get bereaved. Many a times, such people undergo this issue for the first time and have no experience in how to handle it. Such services can help in boosting their morale.


Providing support to people who experience significant changes in their lives is very important, as many times, they may not be able to get out of the vacuum or emptiness created due to death of a loved one. During the case it was seen that Mrs. Garry was suffering from bowel cancer, of which she eventually died. Her son George did not get any kind of support from hospital management in how to handle situation of bereavement and also arrange for her burial. In addition to it, report also shed light on the fact that it is very critical to help such people who undergo such situations, mainly because on many occasions they are not able to get out of such situations. 


  • Glasby, J., 2012. Understanding Health and Social Care. Policy Press.
  • Graves, D., 2009. Talking with Bereaved people. An Approach for structured and sensitive communication. Jessica Kingsely Publishers.  
  • Moss, B., 2012. Communication Skills in Health and Social Care. SAGE.
  • Nolan, Y., 2005. Health and Social Care: S/NVQ Level 2. Heinemann.
  • Ross, K., 1973. On Death and Dying. Routledge.
  • Schwarzer, R., 2000. The Self in Anxiety, Stress and Depression. Elsevier.
  • Thomas, A. Mason, L. and Ford, S., 2003. Care Management in Practice for the Registered Manager Award NVQ 4. Heinemann.
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