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emergency department, sudden death, sudden bereavement, model, action research



  1. Brysiewicz, P. PhD
  2. Uys, L. R. DSocSc


The purpose of this study was to attempt to provide health professionals working in emergency departments with guidelines to use in order to ensure the therapeutic management of the dead or dying client, the suddenly bereaved families, and fellow colleagues (health professionals). A 4-year action research study was undertaken involving semistructured interviews with health professionals (doctors and nurses) working in selected Level I emergency departments, suddenly bereaved families belonging to a local bereavement support group, and mortuary staff in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Further analysis of the categories and themes that emerged from the interviews informed the development of the Dealing with Sudden Death Model, a family information pamphlet, a preparation checklist, and an incident evaluation checklist.