Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Mother's Day 9 May New Book on Childhood Death

Mother's Day 9 May New Book Addresses Childhood Death

How do you support families whose child has died? Finding the right words and actions to support those who have lost a child is as difficult for health professionals as anyone else, says Otago Polytechnic senior lecturer in Nursing Dr Alison Stewart.

Her book, Sudden Death in Childhood: Support for the Bereaved Family, which she co-authored with British researcher Dr Ann Dent, offers "considerations for practice" for nurses, midwives, and others looking to support people during this most difficult of times.

The release of the book in New Zealand coincides with Mother's Day, Sunday May 9. On this day Dunedin's Baby Bereavement Group holds an annual memorial service day at Andersons Bay Cemetery. Stewart explains that part of her new book has grown out of her work supporting this group of bereaved families.

The work was launched in the United Kingdom by international publishing house Butterworth Heinemann in March this year.

Based on the authors' PhD research, the book argues that society plays a strong role in shaping individuals' grief, and that everyone's experience is different.

This means that some commonly-held beliefs, such as the so-called "stages of grief" may not only be inappropriate for many grieving families, but can actually constrain grieving, as bereaved individuals wonder why their responses are not matching this pattern.

But by rejecting any "recipe for grief", Stewart and Dent acknowledge how hard it is for nurses, midwives and others to know how to best support bereaved family members.

At the same time, the authors identify these health professionals, who are often in direct contact with the families at the time of loss, as having a unique and pivotal role in offering support.

"This is why we are presenting 'considerations for practice'," explains Dr Stewart. "We have proposed ways to help health professionals recognise situations, have confidence in their judgment, and develop their existing skills in supporting, listening and allowing families to tell their stories."

This book draws together writings from nursing, psychology and sociology to inform health professionals' practice. It also explores the often-forgotten responses of grandparents and siblings to a child's death.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Ten x Ten - One Hundred of Te Papa's Best-Loved Art Works

An idiosyncratic selection by ten art curators, each of whom have chosen ten of their favourite works. Handsomely illustrated, their choices are accompanied by full-page colour prints and brief descriptions of the work, explaining in straightforward and approachable language why it is of historical, cultural, or personal significance. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Portacom City - Reporting On Canterbury Earthquakes

In Portacom City Paul Gorman describes his own deeply personal story of working as a journalist during the quakes, while also speaking more broadly about the challenges that confront reporters at times of crisis. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Christopher Pugsley’s The Camera in the Crowd - Filming in New Zealand Peace and War 1895-1920

Pugsley brings to life 25 exhilarating years of film making and picture screening in a sumptuously illustrated hardback published by Oratia that tells the story through surviving footage unearthed from the national film archives. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland