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Research Article

Bereavement counselling after sudden infant death.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 290 doi: (Published 02 February 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;290:363
  1. S Woodward,
  2. A Pope,
  3. W J Robson,
  4. O Hagan


    Of 14 families who suffered a sudden infant death, eight were followed up intensively over several months and offered individual counselling, parents' group meetings, and interviews with doctors as a way of helping them come to terms with their feelings of loss. Five couples accepted short term support from their health visitor, and one refused help. Many families experienced considerable stress including marital conflict, difficulties with surviving children, and anxiety about future children becoming victims of the sudden infant death syndrome. It was concluded that medical social workers, health visitors, hospital paediatricians, general practitioners, and parent self help groups are in key positions to help. The success of such help is likely to depend on the confidence that each helper has that his or her contribution will be valued by the bereaved family.