Mother’s experience of the support from a bereavement follow-up intervention after the death of a child

Authors

  • Ida Nikkola,

    1. Authors: Ida Nikkola, MNSc, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere; Marja Kaunonen, PhD, Professor, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere; Anna Liisa Aho, PhD, Senior Assistant Professor, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere, Finland
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  • Marja Kaunonen,

    1. Authors: Ida Nikkola, MNSc, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere; Marja Kaunonen, PhD, Professor, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere; Anna Liisa Aho, PhD, Senior Assistant Professor, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere, Finland
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  • Anna Liisa Aho

    1. Authors: Ida Nikkola, MNSc, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere; Marja Kaunonen, PhD, Professor, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere; Anna Liisa Aho, PhD, Senior Assistant Professor, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, Tampere, Finland
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Anna Liisa Aho, Senior Assistant Professor, University of Tampere, School of Health Sciences, PO BOX 607, FIN – 33014 Tampere, Finland. Telephone: +358 40 1901448
E-mail: anna.l.aho@uta.fi

Abstract

Aims and objectives.  To describe the mothers’ experience of the support they received in a bereavement follow-up intervention after the death of a child and their experiences of the intervention programme. The intervention included three complementary components: (1) a support package, (2) peer supporters’ contact with mothers and (3) health professionals’ contact with mothers.

Background.  Although several types of intervention have been targeted at grieving parents or mothers, there exists a lack of knowledge of what kind of intervention is supportive and enhances the coping of parents after the death of a child.

Design.  An intervention was implemented in two university-level hospitals in Southern Finland. The study participants were grieving mothers (n = 86) whose child had died at the age of three or younger. The data were collected by using a structured questionnaire within six months of the death of a child.

Methods.  The data were analysed with descriptive statistical methods.

Results.  The mothers felt that the support they received helped them in coping with the situation. Among the different forms of received support, the mothers felt they received the most emotional support from peer supporters and health professionals. The mothers considered the support intervention to be useful.

Conclusion.  The collaborative support intervention between health professionals and peer supporters enabled versatile, immediate and long-term support that helped the mothers cope after the death of a child.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Health professionals should collaborate systematically with the third sector to provide support for mothers after the death of their child. In addition to the support given in hospital, health professionals should arrange more contacts and meetings with bereaved mothers on a long-term basis, after the mothers have left the hospital.

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