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Bereaved parents' perspectives on their needs

  • Norma Mammone D'Agostino (a1), Deborah Berlin-Romalis (a2), Vesna Jovcevska (a3) and Maru Barrera (a4)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2008

The loss of a child can be traumatic for parents, given the profound bond established with the deceased child. Parental bereavement and the need for bereavement services are not well understood. This study examined parental perspectives regarding bereavement services from a pediatric oncology treating center.


A 2-h focus group of seven parents, audiotaped and transcribed verbatim, was conducted by two facilitators using open-ended questions to generate discussion regarding their views of what services were or would be helpful during early bereavement.


Parents perceived flexible and continuous bereavement services from the treating hospital as a necessary transition to community services. Talking to other parents with similar experiences and maintaining contact with staff at the treating hospital were considered critical in their healing after the loss.

Significance of results:

Transitional multimodality bereavement services offered by the treating hospital will improve the quality of life of bereaved families.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Maru Barerra, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5G 1X8, Canada. E-mail:
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