Unit 23 Supporting significant life events

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Unit 23 Supporting Significant life events Sample Assignment

Table of Contents

Introduction. 2

1.1Explain the impact of significant life events on individuals. 2

1.2Analyse possible group responses to significant life events that occur to one of its members. 3

1.3 Analyse the impact for others in health and social care when an individual experiences significant life events  4

2.1 Evaluate the effectiveness of organisational policies and procedures in supporting individuals and their social networks affected by significant life events. 5

HND Assignments

2.2 Explain how others in social networks may provide support to individuals experiencing significant life events  6

2.3 Evaluate the suitability of external sources of support for those affected by significant life events  7

3.1 Analyse possible organisational responses to the need to support individuals experiencing a significant life event 8

3.2 Reflect on own personal contributions to the support of individuals experiencing significant life events  10

3.3 Make recommendations for improving the support available in a health and social care organisation for individuals and their social networks when affected by significant life events. 10

Conclusion. 11

References. 13

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The essay has focused upon conducting an analysis upon the effect of SLEs on individuals experiencing the same. The essay has also taken the initiative to understand the group responses that can be made to such individuals and the effect of such critical events upon others. A discussion has also been included highlighting the organisational policies that can be set up, in order to support staffs experiencing SLE. The essay has also recommended about the steps that can be taken by organisations to provide support to the individuals experiencing SLE.

1.1Explain the impact of significant life events on individuals

Significant life events put a strong impact upon the psychology of an individual and his/her surroundings. There can be both favourable and adverse life events, such as job promotion or death of a family members etc. The occurrence of significant life events can have a direct bearing upon the physical, social and psychological wellbeing that results in suffering of an individual due to stress or depression.

The state of stress is considered as the physical, psychological and emotional impact experienced by an individual due to the causation of a significant life event. Stress can affect an individual by causing cognitive, emotional, physical as well as psychological response towards stress (Norgaard, 2011).

Cognitive responses caused due to changes in life may result in inability to make proper judgment, lack of concentration, negative mentality and anxiety. Similarly, psychological response may lead to loss of libido, pains, chest aches etc. This implies that such response has its effects upon the immune system of an individual.

Physical response to life changing events, such as death of close relatives may result in alteration of the normal surrounding into an unfriendly place, in ability to perform activities that are normally done.

SLE can also have social response to stress, which may affect the ability to integrate of an individual in the socio-cultural system, resulting in isolation, losing interest in daily tasks, increased doubts towards others etc. Occurrence of an SLE can also cause emotional response to stress in the form of mood swings, sadness, depression, irritation etc. The emotional response to stress depends upon physical reaction, facial expression, action tendencies as well as, appraisal of some external situation (Norgaard, 2011).

Kubler-Ross (1992) in her book, ‘On Death and Dying’ has discussed about five different phase of grieving process, which are isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

As per the current scenario, it has been found that, Sue, the mother of Jill was feeling very isolated, as she did not come to the terms of the Bereavement Partner Support Group even after the passing of a period one since the death of her daughter Jill. She was also feeling guilty and angry, as she questioned why this event happened to her daughter and that she could not be able to tell her daughter how she loved her before she passed away and that what wrong has Sue committed that such event happened to her. She then came to the bargaining phase where she becomes highly protective to her son David as she did not want to lose another child of her. Sue passed through the phase of depression, where she turned so much depressed that she was not even capable to do the simple house work. In the end she felt more relieved when she came she agreed with the terms of the counsellor and she understood the normality of the current grief that she has experienced and loss behaviour.

1.2 Analyse possible group responses to significant life events that occur to one of its members

Individuals experiencing bereavement often get support from different groups, which may include, family members, friends, community, workplace etc. Among the mentioned groups, family is considered as the most important group that can support an individual during bereavement. Family members can provide company, arrange money for funeral, organise funeral and do other activities that can provide relieve to the former. Friends are also considered as an important group that offer support, love, company and consolation to an individual who has experienced the loss of loved ones. They can pour positive thoughts in the mind of the bereaved individual. Similarly, the expressions or words of the friends can also hurt the bereaved individual emotionally, when they say that they had similar experiences, this can de-motivate the bereaved individual (Dohrenwend, 1998).

Community is also considered as an example of group that can extend support to a bereaved individual. Community provides a bereaved person an opportunity of being heard and they extend company and support through the process of grieving. Examples of communities can be Islamic or Jewish community, local churches etc. Support can also be extended from the place of work and colleagues, where leaves can be granted to the bereaved individuals and colleagues can visit him/her and console such individual to get him/her out of stress.

There are bereavement support groups that can extend support to bereaved individuals in shaping bereavements. In the case of Sue it has been found that the greatest support has surfaced from her family, her husband took great care of her, in order to ensure that she gets relief from the stress caused due to bereavement. Secondly, she also received support from Bereavement partner Support Group that helped in shaping the bereavement and finally she received support from the professional counsellor, who helped her to get out of the state of stress (Dohrenwend, 1998).

1.3 Analyse the impact for others in health and social care when an individual experiences significant life events

In case of the death of an individual, apart from his/her family members and close relatives there other persons who suffers stress and other issues due to SLE, those comprises of care workers, nurses and other associated persons. They may be in direct contact with the deceased person such as, care workers involved in the process of personal care or medication or they may be indirectly in contact with the deceased individual, working inside as well as outside of the work environment. Such persons can project psychological, physical, emotional or even social symptoms due the occurrence of such a significant life event (Cairns, 1993).

The psychological effect upon the care workers can be considered as losing concentration in conducting tasks, mood swings, disturbed mind etc. These symptoms can affect their working capacity. The emotional effect upon care workers can be considered as feeling extremely sad or even crying. Some care workers, who were in touch with the dying patient can experience compassion fatigue, as result of that it can be found that health care staffs and nurses becoming unable to project similar compassion to the relatives and family members of deceased individual as strong as ever.

The social effect upon care staffs and nurses can be considered as isolation from the society due to the occurrence of the SLE and the same resulted in going into depression (Cairns, 1993). In the present case, it has been found that, a nurse, who was involved in the process of treatment of Jill, was very shocked with the death, which appears to be a significant life event for the nurse. As a result of that, the nurse felt distressed and emotional, this affected her capacity of working and she went into complete isolation. The nurse could not be able to continue with her work for a few days. This clearly projects that apart from the family members and close relatives of a deceased person there are other individuals who can experience issues due to significant life event such as the nurse in the present scenario.

2.1 Evaluate the effectiveness of organisational policies and procedures in supporting individuals and their social networks affected by significant life events

There are different organised formed in UK that help in provision of support to bereaved persons such as, Shaping the Bereavement, Bereavement care services, palliative Care Funding Review, Bereavement Partner Support Group and many more. These organisations have their individual policies and procedures that helps bereaved persons to get relief from stress and come back to main stream. These organisations generally provide practical as well as information to bereaved persons. There are certain principles that may form the basis of bereavement support services such as, dignity in care, empathy, person centric care etc.

Bereavement Care Standards is an organisation formed on the basis of collaboration between Cruse Bereavement Care and Bereavement Services Association. Their primary objective is to detect the areas of improvement regarding bereavement services provided to individuals, in order to ensure that the services are provided in an efficient and safe way. These organisations extend their services to different types of settings such as, bereaved support groups, hospitals etc. Considering the case of Jill it can be said that the services provided by the above mentioned organisations can be applicable, as hospitals are also covered within the sphere of the above mentioned organisations, in regards to service provision. However, it can be said that, the mentioned organisations failed to provide appropriate supervision to the hospital where Jill used to visit and moreover, they failed to provide the required support to bereavement support groups to help Sue to come out of stress (Grey, 2010).

Shaping the Bereavement Care is another concern that provides support services to the health care staffs who are bereaved or persons who are suffering from complicated grief. This organisation provides the required training and support services to health care staffs, who experiences grief. The services provided by the mentioned organisation is applicable in the present case, as it has been found that Sue was suffering from complicated grief and Jill was attended by a nurse who suffered grief. However, Shaping the Bereavement Care failed to provide the required support to Sue as she did not come to term even after a year of provision of service, moreover, the nurse who suffered from grief was also not supported properly (Grey, 2010).

2.2 Explain how others in social networks may provide support to individuals experiencing significant life events

The social surrounding or social networks surrounding a person, comprising of family members, friends, relatives, care staffs and others are considered as an essential source of support, during bereavement. They provide various categories of support namely, emotional, physical, financial and spiritual support.

Emotional support is considered as a form of support that can directly help the mind of a bereaved individual to get healed. The help is provided in the form of counselling by a professional counsellor. Communications take place between the bereaved individual and his closed ones, friends or care workers also helps in healing the mind. Emotional support stabilises the mind of the bereaved person and at the same time it also focuses upon the well being and prosperity of the individual (Relf, 2000).

Physical support:

There are different physical issues that may emerge due to bereavement. Physical support is extended to bereaved individuals to help them becoming physically as well as mentally stable and active. The support is provided in the form of provision of an opportunity to the individual to sleep properly, provision of good food and opportunity to exercise. These matters help in providing relief from stress. The physical support is generally extended by family members, health care workers or even friends.

Financial support:

Financial support generates at the time of bereavement and it is essential for the bereaved person to get adequate help from friends, social services, family members or other to arrange necessary finance. The main support which is required during bereavement is arranging funds for funeral, getting legal succession upon the property and estate of the deceased person etc. The bereaved person remains in a state of sadness and stress and it becomes impossible for him/her to perform these activities. The above mentioned individuals can provide the required help to arrange finance in those situations (Relf, 2000).

Spiritual support:

As the name suggests spiritual support is provided by pastors, imams, friends as well as family members. The spiritual support is generally extended through palliative and end life care units. This form of support strengthens an individual spiritually by making him/her hopeful, getting enough peace to overcome sadness and stress; it removes grief and helps the bereaved individual to attain a stable and peaceful mind.

There are other organisations set in this behalf to provide support services to bereaved individuals, such as, Bereaved Parent Support Network, Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society etc. Apart from friends, family members and other religious persons who provide, physical, spiritual, financial or emotional support, these organisation also develop appropriate framework of support tp provide relief to dying individuals and bereaved persons. It will be necessary for the organisations to abide by the principles of confidentiality, getting expert help, bereavement and others to perform better and they must frame their individual policies and codes of practice (Hollins Martin and Forrest, 2013).

2.3 Evaluate the suitability of external sources of support for those affected by significant life events

It has been found in the present scenario that despite provision of support from Tom and other organisations to Sue she did not came in terms even after one year of the loss of her child, Jill. In these complicated cases, a bereaved individual is generally referred to a consultant physician of counsellor. The referral is made by considering the condition and symptoms of the bereaved individual, for instance, a referral will be made if it is found that the bereaved person is suffering from severe anxiety, he/she has suicidal tendencies, suffering from prolonged silence and the person is in need of spiritual support. Before provision of care the requirements of the bereaved individual is evaluated and appropriate support is provided as per his/her needs, whether it be physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual support (Graves, 2012).

Physical support is provided to such individual to make him/her physically as well as mentally active and independent. These forms of supports are generally extended by physiotherapists and occupational therapists. On the other hand psychological support is provided to particularly deal with the mind of the individual. There are various practitioners, who are capable of providing psychological support to individuals such as, psychiatrists, counsellors and others (Corless, Germino and Pittman, 2006). They help in getting rid of psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, negative thoughts etc. On the other hand spiritual support is provided by religious people to make the bereaved individual spiritually strong enough to overcome the bereavement stress, person who provide spiritual support are imams, churches etc.

In the present case it has been found that Sue got emotionally stressed due to the loss of her daughter Jill and she did not come in terms with the support from organisations such as Shaping the Bereavement and Bereavement Partner Support Group, even after one year. She was highly stressed, depressed sand she was feeling guilty, as a result of that her husband Tom consulted with a counsellor, who ultimately gave Sue relief from stress, through provision of psychological support.

3.1 Analyse possible organisational responses to the need to support individuals experiencing a significant life event

There is no formal policy for dealing with SLE. Each organisation has their individual policies and procedures to deal with persons experiencing SLE. There certain principles of support that are followed by organisations to deal; with bereaved persons such as, dignity, respect, informed choice and confidentiality. Whenever, the staffs of an organisation face a situation of bereavement, it will be the duty of the organisation to provide the required information to such persons about the support services that can be availed by them (Rocker, 2010).

It will also be necessary for the organisation to take into account the provision of care and also project empathy and respect to individuals who have experienced SLE. It will also be necessary for the management of the organisation to follow the policy of confidentiality while dealing with bereaved persons as the same will help in improving the quality of care provided to them.

At the same time, the management of the organisation must also adhere to the requirements of projecting equality in treatment of individuals experiencing SLE. The management should eliminate every form of discrimination within an organisation while dealing with the employees. And at the same time, the organisation should also adhere to the regulatory requirements, requirements relating to data protection, health and safety measures and other policies that are important (Osterweis, Solomon and Green, 1989).

In case the staff of an organisation has experienced SLE, the first step that the management should follow is to show enough sympathy empathy, informed choice and the support that will be required by such staff. The management must also take the help of the human resource personnel to deal with such staff. There are other facilities that can be offered to such staff, such as provision of financial support, flexible working hours, counselling services etc. The management must also encourage the other staff members who are capable and trained to deal with persons experiencing SLE to to deaql with such staff in order to provide the required support.

Critical incidents can often enhance stress among working personnel. Instances of critical incidents would include accidents at workplace, death, suicide etc. These type of incidents would result in enhancing the level of stress in an individual and also to reduce his/her ability to deal with different circumstances (Osterweis, Solomon and Green, 1989).

Responses towards critical incidents can be made by following a series of steps, which are, diffusing, debriefing, follow up, critiquing and provision of additional support services. Diffusion is a function that involves provision of information regarding the physical and emotional stress that an individual may experience and the required steps that should be taken to deal with such situation. Debriefing implies consulting and communicating with an individual within 24-72 hours of his/her experiencing a critical event. Follow up is generally made within 7 days of debriefing. Critiquing is an action that involves investigation and review of the occurrence of the event and to identify the areas of improvement (Dyregrov and Dyregrov, 2008).

Provision of critical responses to individuals experiencing critical events would help an organisation in retaining its staffs and make their min stable to get back to working condition. In the present scenario, it has been found that, Sue used to work on part time basis; he line manager provided her a leave for 4 weeks to attend her daughter, without pay. Moreover, the line manager also offered her flexible working hours after the leave is over.

3.2 Reflect on own personal contributions to the support of individuals experiencing significant life events

I have experienced SLE while at work. Being a health care support staff, in the emergency ward of a health and social care setting, I experience different critical events every day. I experienced a situation, where a severely injured child was admitted in the emergency ward, the child suffered fatal injuriy due to car accident. I found that the child is suffering abnormal pain and she is going to be faint, as a result of that I raised the emergency alarm to call for help. However, before the arrival of help the child broke down and experienced a cardiac arrest that resulted in her death. This event made me recount the loss of my sister in a car accident. The parents of the deceased child were provided the necessary support from their organisation in the form of bereavement leave for around a month and flexible working hours after the leave is over, in the mean time the organisation also referred the mother to a counsellor for getting emotional and psychological support to get rid of grief. Following the incident I have developed an appropriate understanding relating to treating and dealing with individuals in the health care setting, who have experienced similar incidents.

3.3 Make recommendations for improving the support available in a health and social care organisation for individuals and their social networks when affected by significant life events.

Considering the situation faced by individuals after experiencing SLE and the necessary support services that can be availed by such persons, the following recommendations have been made for improving the support available in a health and social care organisation:


Appropriate training program must be developed for important personnel such as HR managers, line managers and other staffs, who are required to deal with people experiencing bereavement and SLE. They must be informed about the forms and nature of grief reactions and the way they should deal with such reactions. They must also be made known about the additional and specialist support that can be availed by them in critical situations. The staff members must also be communicated with the required for need assessment in order to understand the nature of grief, bereavement and what to do in order to deal with bereaved individuals (Bolton, 2008).

Policies and procedures:

Although there are no regulatory norms to make payment for bereavement leave, however, it will be the duty of organisations to formulate appropriate policies and procedures to deal with bereaved staffs and the staffs must also be informed about the ways to deal with bereavement, tactfully. Moreover, an organisation must hire an additional staff, who will act as a specialist in dealing with bereaved individuals and provide them mental and physical support and communicate essential information at the time of bereavement.

Service users:

It will be necessary for health and social cares setting to provide appropriate training in order to extend person cantered approach to individuals experiencing SLE and while performing risk assessment of care seekers such as, person suffering from cancer, in accordance with the care plan implemented. Support will be provided at the time of diagnosis, on completion of treatment and during death and if required external support must be called for (Bolton, 2008).


Ro conclude the above discussion, it must be said that SLEs are life changing events either in a good or a bad way. Persons experiencing adverse SLE are generally distressed and psychologically stressed. The paper has thrown light upon the impact of SLE upon the individuals and analysis of the responses that can be made to such individuals have been conducted in the paper. The paper has also made an evaluation of the support services available to provide the necessary help to individuals experiencing SLE. The paper has also discussed about the external support that can be availed to deal with bereaved individuals and also the policies and procedures that organisations are required to develop in order to deal with staffs experiencing SLE. Recommendations in this regards have also been made in the ways through which organisations can develop procedures for dealing with such individuals.


Bolton, G. (2008). Dying, bereavement and the healing arts. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Cairns, M. (1993). Bereavement care. Victoria, B.C.: Victoria Hospice Society.

Corless, I., Germino, B. and Pittman, M. (2006). Dying, death, and bereavement. New York, NY: Springer Pub.

Dohrenwend, B. (1998). Adversity, stress, and psychopathology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dyregrov, K. and Dyregrov, A. (2008). Effective grief and bereavement support. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Graves, D. (2012). Setting up and facilitating bereavement support groups. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Grey, R. (2010). Bereavement, Loss and Learning Disabilities. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Hollins Martin, C. and Forrest, E. (2013). Bereavement care for childbearing women and their families. Oxfordshire, England: Routledge.

Kübler-Ross, E. (1992). On death and dying. New York: Quality Paperback Book Club.

Norgaard, K. (2011). Living in denial. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Osterweis, M., Solomon, F. and Green, M. (1989). Bereavement. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Relf, E. (2000). The effectiveness of volunteer bereavement care. University of London.

Rocker, G. (2010). End of life care in the ICU. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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