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bereavement, developmental disabilities, grief, intellectual disabilities



  1. Ailey, Sarah H. PhD, RNC
  2. O'Rourke, Marilyn DNP, RNC
  3. Breakwell, Susan DNP, RNC
  4. Murphy, Anna GNP, RNC


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living longer and experiencing deaths among their family and peers, yet their grieving is not well recognized. Staff members who provide care for these individuals witness the aging and death of their clients, yet they also receive little preparation to work through issues surrounding bereavement for their clients and themselves. The End of Life Nursing Education Consortium developed a national initiative to improve end-of-life and bereavement care education. Recommendations from the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium were incorporated into a home care/hospice/community health course and practicum for second-degree BSN students. The following reports on an innovative clinical experience in which students developed a program to address the bereavement needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their staff.