A dialogue tool supporting health professionals to communicate about loss and grief with children
More details
Hide details
Department of Midwifery, Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium
Research Group ExploRatio, Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Brussels, Belgium
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Inge Tency   

Department of Midwifery, Odisee University of Applied Sciences, Sint-Niklaas, Belgium
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A122
A baby on neonatology means the start of an emotional, difficult period for parents, but has also an impact on siblings. They often experience feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, loneliness and guilt. It is important to support and involve siblings during the admission of their brother/sister. This support is often provided by sibling boxes with (medical) information. However, siblings should also be able to express emotions and doubts. Therefore, a dialogue tool was developed to communicate with children about loss and grief.

Material and Methods:
A descriptive, qualitative design was conducted, using convenience and snowball sampling to evaluate the tool among professionals, parents and teachers. Semi-structured interviews (n=10) were performed online or by telephone and recorded. After transcribing, content analysis was performed.

The dialogue tool was positively evaluated. The manual and conversation cards were experienced as a safe, necessary handhold and guidance for adults. Siblings reacted positive and curious. The tool triggered spontaneous conversations, enabling children to share their experiences. Participants mentioned that the tool was best applied to children between 4-8 years. The toolbox was introduced differently by playing, before bedtime, after dinner or talking circles at school. Participants mentioned that children needed some action afterwards and made suggestions to optimize the tool.

The dialogue tool has an added value by lowering the threshold to communicate with children about loss and grief, thereby breaking the existing taboo. Further attention is needed to integrate the tool in existing mourning boxes and train professionals in its use among families on neonatology.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
This project was funded by a grant for practice oriented research of the Flemish government.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top