Supporting significant life event in health and social care setting


At one point in human life, individual are affected by event that changes their life forever. These events are collectively known as significant life (Falcon, et al 2009). Studies have shown that life events do have impact in the affected person life. Most of these impacts negatively affected the health and wellbeing, and if left unmanaged or unsupported individual affected by significant life event can enjoy low quality of life. This essay explains the process and practice of offering support to people affected by live event in a health and social care setting. Special references are made to Mrs Garry case scenario. Mrs Garry was diagnosis with terminal illness   and she eventually did. Her only son who had not seen her for a while was bereaved during the time of terminal illness and after death. The essay examine, support was offered to the bereaved George.

1.1 Explain the impact of life event on individual life

Significant life event is any events that have long term impacts on individual life. According, to Falcon, et al (2009), significant life event refer to any happening that change one life completely. Example of live event include marriage, divorce, loss of employment, loss of love one among others. Life event can have positive or negative impacts on individual. Some of the life event will affects every individual at one point in their life for instance loss of loved one , while other are no mandatory e.g. marriage.

One of the most common life events is bereavement. At one point in human life individual loss their loved one. Bereavement may best stressful and may impacts on the life of bereaved individual in different ways. The impacts of bereavement may be physical, social and, psychological.

Physical impacts- bereaved person may experience a lot of physical changes. According to AGE UK (2015), the physical impacts of bereavement included sleep disturbance, loss of appetite, weak body and muscles. Some individual may also experience short breath or even tense and restless. Another physical impact of bereavement is digestive unrest and overeating of loss of appetites.

Psychological impact- in some cases bereavement may have some psychological impact on the bereaved person. Some individual may show intense level of stress depression and anxiety. Additionally, individual may feel guilt of not have done so, much for the deceased person. In our case scenario, the death of Mrs Garry had some psychological impacts on George. Just before her death George was very stressful and distressed and at some time felt guilty of not having spent much time with her mother given that he was only her child.

Social impacts- bereavement also do have impacts on individual social live. According to age UK (2015), bereaved individuals is usually filled with feeling of being alone, they also become overly sensitive to social interaction and get irritated very easily. They may also feel uncomfortable being in crowded area and may abandon their social life for some time. In the case scenario, the terminal illness and the subsequent death of Miss Garry also did have some impacts on George social life. Immediately George learnt that her mother was hospitalised with terminal illness, he took time of her work to spend more time with his mother. He temporally abandons her young family as he was greatly disturbed by the expected death of her mother.

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

One way to help bereaved person cope with their loss is through group response. In group response, individuals came together to offer the required needs to the bereaved person. Family and friend remain the most effective group response for many individual. According to FCA (2015), many grieved individual find solace in sharing their grief experience with friend and family. It is therefore important that family and friend are around the bereaved person. According to Marie (2015), family and friends is the first and most accessible source of   support to the bereaved person. Marie curie (2015), mentioned that , bereaved individuals requires to openly express their emotional feeling surrounding the death and they only feel comfortable doing so to people who they are familiar with include family and friends. This helps them cope with bereavement.

Another group response to bereavement is grief support group. This support group is usually made up of bereaved individual who uses their experience to help other cope with their bereavement (Goodkin, et al 2001). The support that was provided to George by the support group of families in his position was very instrumental to his understanding of bereavement. Additionally the group response he received from the professional palliate care team help him fulfil his mother wishes which was instrumental in coping with her mother death given that he hadn’t seen her for a while.

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

The death of patients in health and social care setting, do have some impacts on the healthcare professional both in their work as well in their family life. Recent studies have shown that healthcare professional involved in treatment and care of a deceased person report high level of stress, anxiety and depression (HSE 2008).

According to a study conducted in acute health care setting, nurses and staffs involved in caring for dying person experience disfranchised grieving (Wilson 2012). Disfranchised grieving is one that is not recognized and supported by anybody. This affects their job satisfaction and productivity. A staffs that experience disfranchised grieving perform poor in their work and social life. They feel sad, agitated and want to spend most of their time alone both at work and their home (Wilson 2012). According to Romesberg (2004), disfranchised grieving put healthcare professional at increased risk of burn out and compassionate fatigue.

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

Supporting person affected by significant life event should be done according to organization polices and procedure. In cases of bereavement, there are several policies and procedure developed to guide the care of bereaved and dying person. These policies includes end of care strategy (2008), when a patient dies (2005), bereavement care standard (2001) among other.

The end of care strategy (2008) was developed by the government to improve the care of dying person. According to department of health dying individual need to be treated as individual with respect and dignity. They also need to be free from any pain and their dying wishes should be met. The end of care strategy spelt out what care organization needs to do in order to improve the care for dying person. This strategy has improved the care of dying person as it gives them the power to choose where they want to live and die. One of the requirements of this policy is that adequate support of the bereaved family should be provided. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the George case scenario. The nurses were to busy to recognize the bereavement need of death before and after the death of Mrs Garry. If this policy was followed by the hospital staffs, George would have been given proper support when he was distressed and agitated by the facts that her mother was going to die.

Bereavement care standard (2001) was developed basically to improve the quality of care that bereaved individual received form hospital care home, nursing home and other care organizations. This policy has been very instrumental in ensuring all the bereavement services are of required standards.

“When a patient dies” is NHS policy that guide care provider on how to develop bereavement services. It provided the basic guidelines that help NHS organization developed high quality bereavement services. According to this policy, all NHS are required to developed internal policy that must address bereavement pathway for expected and unexpected death (DH 2005).


2.2 Explain how others in the social network may provide support to individual experiencing significant life events

In bereavement, Social networks refer to external links where an individual can access support. In case of Mrs Garry and George, other in social network may includes family, friends, nurse, doctors and even organization such as cruse bereavement care, Compassionate friend among other.

Friend, family, nurses, doctors and other may provide wide range of support. These may includes

  • Physical support- this refers to physical assistance such as helping individual do their daily function. In case of Mrs Garry and George, the physical support may include helping Mr Garry take her medication, meal and drinks among other.
  • Material support- bereaved individual may require material support including food, money among other. In case of Mr Garry, her social networks help George raise £ 300 which was used to fulfil her wishes.
  • Emotional support- bereaved person are also in needs of emotional support. Member of social group provide social support in number of ways including being physically around the bereaved person, listen to them, and keeping them engaged in meaningful conversation.


The cruse bereavement care- this organization offers supports to individual who have lost someone close to them. In this organization, support is offered by the trained individual who comprises of counsellor and also by people who have gone through the same bereavement before. The services are offered either through face-to- face or through group support.

Compassionate friend is a charitable organization for bereaved individual who have is their parent sibling or grandparent. This organization is made of previously bereaved individuals who offer support to other bereaved. Bothe Cruse bereavement care and compassionate relies on the experiences of previously bereaved individuals to offer supports to newly bereaved individual. These individual provide wide range of the support but mostly includes emotional supports and informational support that help people understand bereavement and cope with it.

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

Bereavement is a fundamental of life as it affects every human being. The consequences of bereavement vary from one individual to another. To the high resilient individual, grief only last for few day or weeks after which it subsidies or disappear (Bonnano & Kaltman 2001). However, there is another group of individuals estimated to be 10-15 percent where the distress associated with bereavement is intense and persistent. This condition is known as complicated grief (DH 2012).

Complicated grief may led to several physical and mental health issues such as insomnia, cardiac problem, suicide, cancer, hypertension, substance misuses, social impairment, work impairment and depression(DH 2012). Individual with complicated grief are well supported if they are referred to specialist services. Referring individual to specialist services help them deal with prevailing condition and minimise the health risks associated with their prolonged grieving. A bereaved person needs, to be referred to external support when;

There are several specialist care services available for bereaved individual which include palliate care, counselling services, church and religion group among other. In case of George and her mother, there are several specialist services that are suitable to help them cope with the life before and after death. Palliate care service was the most required. Palliate care services was required to help affirm life to Mrs Garry and George and also to help them understand death as normal process of life. This would have reduced distress in both George and is mother.


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

Life event do have physical, psychological, and social impact on the person life. This affects the individual productivity in the work place. It is therefore important that organization provide proper support to it worker when affected by significant life event. There are several ways in which organization can respond to significant live event.

One way is to that is to set up critical incidence response team. Some tragic event such as car accident, suicide and sudden death can trigger intense feeling of anxiety, confusion, and anger, guilty among the member of the organization or the affected person. This may led to even further, tragic event such as suicides, accident among other (BC 2015). To avoid, such scenario from happening organization always put in place critical incidence response. Critical incidences response team provide a lot of basic support to the affected individual including first aid, counselling, and mitigation risk caused by such event. According to BC (Pine Rest 2015), critical response time should always be available and their effectiveness is based on timing of their response. They should speed up their response as much as possible.

The human resource manager also has significant role to play in offering support to individual affected by significant role. He should ensure there are proper policies in place to allow affected individual days off the work so that he can cope with the impact the event had on his life (Charles-Edwards 2001). In the case scenario, George need days off the work to cope with terminal illness and the death of her mother. Such leaves can only be grantee if the Human resource manager has enacted the appropriate policies and procedure.

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

The support given by other to individual affected by significant life event is of great importance in helping them adjust to new life. I have in several instances provided support to individual affected by significant life event. In one case, my close friend had lost her mother to breast cancer. This was really, a stressful time for her. She cried a lot, got stressed and worried.

As his best friend, I had to be there for her. I made sure that I was physically presence to gave her comfort and allow her talk about her loss. I was very keen not to be judgment in all my conversation. This encouraged her to talk about the death and the circumstance that surrounded the death.

The death of her mother stressed and worried her a lot. I was confused on how to help her overcome the stress and worry. After keenly listen to her, I discovered she was stressed with some many thing among them daily activities which she felt uninterested in. To reduce stress on her, I helped her with daily activities such as shopping and cooking. I also learned that she was very worried as she felt so vulnerable to breast cancer given that it was the main causes of her mother death. I talked to a local health community centre who arranged to educate her about breast cancer. After the counselling, she was relieved.

3.3 Make recommendation for improving support available in a care home for resident and their social network

In this essay, it is evidence that people affected by significant life event requires a lot of support for them to adjust to new life. Inadequate support can have severe physical, social and psychological impact on their life.  Health care organizations should therefore make sure proper support is available to their patient/residents. To improve the support available in care home the follow recommendation need to be followed.

  • Need assessment of the staffs- some of the significant life event do have effects on staffs. According to Wilson and Kirshbaum (2011), when patients die in the, nurses also goes through grieving process which affect their work and family life. Staffs also need to be supported to help them cope with such impacts so that they can continue to offer proper care to other.
  • Staffs provide the basic and direct contact with individual who are affected by life event. Their skills and abilities thus determine the quality of services offered. Training the staffs to improve their skills and abilities can thus help improve the quality of care.



This essay aimed to explain how support if given to individual affected by significant life vent in health and soci9al care setting. Based on the finding of this easy the following can be concluded

  • The negative consequences of bereavement can be severe and may negatively affect the life of the affected individual. Although some individual are able to cope with the impacts on significant life event on their own, the coping process is made easier and quicker through proper support from others. The most effective support is provided through group responses includes support provided by family and friends as well s that provided by support group.
  • Organizations also play important role in offering support to affected individual. Through policies and procedure they provide a guide on how support is to b e provided to individual affected by significant life event.
  • The essay has also revealed that in some case individual may requires special services to help them cope with life event. Referring them specialist services is thus of greater importance in supporting significant.


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