Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child's death

Kathleen L. Meert*, Susan Eggly, Karen Kavanaugh, Robert A. Berg, David L. Wessel, Christopher J L Newth, Thomas P. Shanley, Rick Harrison, Heidi Dalton, J. Michael Dean, Allan Doctor, Tammara Jenkins, Crystal L. Park, Jean Reardon, Elyse Tomanio, Aimee La Bel, Margaret Villa, Ann Pawluszka, Mary Ann DiLiberto, Monica S. WeberStephanie Bisping, Jeri Burr, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Our goal was to identify and describe types of meaning-making processes that occur among parents during bereavement meetings with their child's intensive care physician after their child's death in a pediatric intensive care unit. Methods: Fifty-three parents of 35 deceased children participated in a bereavement meeting with their child's physician 14.5 ± 6.3 weeks after the child's death. One meeting was conducted per family. Meetings were video recorded and transcribed verbatim. Using a directed content analysis, an interdisciplinary team analyzed the transcripts to identify and describe meaningmaking processes that support and extend extant meaning-making theory. Results: Four major meaningmaking processes were identified: (1) sense making, (2) benefit finding, (3) continuing bonds, and (4) identity reconstruction. Sense making refers to seeking biomedical explanations for the death, revisiting parents' prior decisions and roles, and assigning blame. Benefit finding refers to exploring positive consequences of the death, including ways to help others, such as giving feedback to the hospital, making donations, participating in research, volunteering, and contributing to new medical knowledge. Continuing bonds refers to parents' ongoing connection with the deceased child manifested by reminiscing about the child, sharing photographs and discussing personal rituals, linking objects, and community events to honor the child. Identity reconstruction refers to changes in parents' sense of self, including changes in relationships, work, home, and leisure. Conclusions: Parent-physician bereavement meetings facilitate several types of meaning-making processes among bereaved parents. Further research should evaluate the extent to which meaning making during bereavement meetings affects parents' health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-461
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

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Bereavement
Parents
Physicians
Ceremonial Behavior
Pediatric Intensive Care Units
Leisure Activities
Critical Care
Child Care
Research
Health

Keywords

  • Bereavement
  • Child
  • Meaning
  • Parent
  • Physician

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Meert, K. L., Eggly, S., Kavanaugh, K., Berg, R. A., Wessel, D. L., Newth, C. J. L., ... Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network (2015). Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child's death. Health Psychology, 34(4), 453-461. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000153
Meert, Kathleen L. ; Eggly, Susan ; Kavanaugh, Karen ; Berg, Robert A. ; Wessel, David L. ; Newth, Christopher J L ; Shanley, Thomas P. ; Harrison, Rick ; Dalton, Heidi ; Michael Dean, J. ; Doctor, Allan ; Jenkins, Tammara ; Park, Crystal L. ; Reardon, Jean ; Tomanio, Elyse ; Bel, Aimee La ; Villa, Margaret ; Pawluszka, Ann ; DiLiberto, Mary Ann ; Weber, Monica S. ; Bisping, Stephanie ; Burr, Jeri ; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network ; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network. / Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child's death. In: Health Psychology. 2015 ; Vol. 34, No. 4. pp. 453-461.
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abstract = "Objective: Our goal was to identify and describe types of meaning-making processes that occur among parents during bereavement meetings with their child's intensive care physician after their child's death in a pediatric intensive care unit. Methods: Fifty-three parents of 35 deceased children participated in a bereavement meeting with their child's physician 14.5 ± 6.3 weeks after the child's death. One meeting was conducted per family. Meetings were video recorded and transcribed verbatim. Using a directed content analysis, an interdisciplinary team analyzed the transcripts to identify and describe meaningmaking processes that support and extend extant meaning-making theory. Results: Four major meaningmaking processes were identified: (1) sense making, (2) benefit finding, (3) continuing bonds, and (4) identity reconstruction. Sense making refers to seeking biomedical explanations for the death, revisiting parents' prior decisions and roles, and assigning blame. Benefit finding refers to exploring positive consequences of the death, including ways to help others, such as giving feedback to the hospital, making donations, participating in research, volunteering, and contributing to new medical knowledge. Continuing bonds refers to parents' ongoing connection with the deceased child manifested by reminiscing about the child, sharing photographs and discussing personal rituals, linking objects, and community events to honor the child. Identity reconstruction refers to changes in parents' sense of self, including changes in relationships, work, home, and leisure. Conclusions: Parent-physician bereavement meetings facilitate several types of meaning-making processes among bereaved parents. Further research should evaluate the extent to which meaning making during bereavement meetings affects parents' health outcomes.",
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Meert, KL, Eggly, S, Kavanaugh, K, Berg, RA, Wessel, DL, Newth, CJL, Shanley, TP, Harrison, R, Dalton, H, Michael Dean, J, Doctor, A, Jenkins, T, Park, CL, Reardon, J, Tomanio, E, Bel, AL, Villa, M, Pawluszka, A, DiLiberto, MA, Weber, MS, Bisping, S, Burr, J, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network & Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network 2015, 'Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child's death', Health Psychology, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 453-461. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000153

Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child's death. / Meert, Kathleen L.; Eggly, Susan; Kavanaugh, Karen; Berg, Robert A.; Wessel, David L.; Newth, Christopher J L; Shanley, Thomas P.; Harrison, Rick; Dalton, Heidi; Michael Dean, J.; Doctor, Allan; Jenkins, Tammara; Park, Crystal L.; Reardon, Jean; Tomanio, Elyse; Bel, Aimee La; Villa, Margaret; Pawluszka, Ann; DiLiberto, Mary Ann; Weber, Monica S.; Bisping, Stephanie; Burr, Jeri; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network.

In: Health Psychology, Vol. 34, No. 4, 01.04.2015, p. 453-461.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child's death

AU - Meert, Kathleen L.

AU - Eggly, Susan

AU - Kavanaugh, Karen

AU - Berg, Robert A.

AU - Wessel, David L.

AU - Newth, Christopher J L

AU - Shanley, Thomas P.

AU - Harrison, Rick

AU - Dalton, Heidi

AU - Michael Dean, J.

AU - Doctor, Allan

AU - Jenkins, Tammara

AU - Park, Crystal L.

AU - Reardon, Jean

AU - Tomanio, Elyse

AU - Bel, Aimee La

AU - Villa, Margaret

AU - Pawluszka, Ann

AU - DiLiberto, Mary Ann

AU - Weber, Monica S.

AU - Bisping, Stephanie

AU - Burr, Jeri

AU - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network

AU - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network

PY - 2015/4/1

Y1 - 2015/4/1

N2 - Objective: Our goal was to identify and describe types of meaning-making processes that occur among parents during bereavement meetings with their child's intensive care physician after their child's death in a pediatric intensive care unit. Methods: Fifty-three parents of 35 deceased children participated in a bereavement meeting with their child's physician 14.5 ± 6.3 weeks after the child's death. One meeting was conducted per family. Meetings were video recorded and transcribed verbatim. Using a directed content analysis, an interdisciplinary team analyzed the transcripts to identify and describe meaningmaking processes that support and extend extant meaning-making theory. Results: Four major meaningmaking processes were identified: (1) sense making, (2) benefit finding, (3) continuing bonds, and (4) identity reconstruction. Sense making refers to seeking biomedical explanations for the death, revisiting parents' prior decisions and roles, and assigning blame. Benefit finding refers to exploring positive consequences of the death, including ways to help others, such as giving feedback to the hospital, making donations, participating in research, volunteering, and contributing to new medical knowledge. Continuing bonds refers to parents' ongoing connection with the deceased child manifested by reminiscing about the child, sharing photographs and discussing personal rituals, linking objects, and community events to honor the child. Identity reconstruction refers to changes in parents' sense of self, including changes in relationships, work, home, and leisure. Conclusions: Parent-physician bereavement meetings facilitate several types of meaning-making processes among bereaved parents. Further research should evaluate the extent to which meaning making during bereavement meetings affects parents' health outcomes.

AB - Objective: Our goal was to identify and describe types of meaning-making processes that occur among parents during bereavement meetings with their child's intensive care physician after their child's death in a pediatric intensive care unit. Methods: Fifty-three parents of 35 deceased children participated in a bereavement meeting with their child's physician 14.5 ± 6.3 weeks after the child's death. One meeting was conducted per family. Meetings were video recorded and transcribed verbatim. Using a directed content analysis, an interdisciplinary team analyzed the transcripts to identify and describe meaningmaking processes that support and extend extant meaning-making theory. Results: Four major meaningmaking processes were identified: (1) sense making, (2) benefit finding, (3) continuing bonds, and (4) identity reconstruction. Sense making refers to seeking biomedical explanations for the death, revisiting parents' prior decisions and roles, and assigning blame. Benefit finding refers to exploring positive consequences of the death, including ways to help others, such as giving feedback to the hospital, making donations, participating in research, volunteering, and contributing to new medical knowledge. Continuing bonds refers to parents' ongoing connection with the deceased child manifested by reminiscing about the child, sharing photographs and discussing personal rituals, linking objects, and community events to honor the child. Identity reconstruction refers to changes in parents' sense of self, including changes in relationships, work, home, and leisure. Conclusions: Parent-physician bereavement meetings facilitate several types of meaning-making processes among bereaved parents. Further research should evaluate the extent to which meaning making during bereavement meetings affects parents' health outcomes.

KW - Bereavement

KW - Child

KW - Meaning

KW - Parent

KW - Physician

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Meert KL, Eggly S, Kavanaugh K, Berg RA, Wessel DL, Newth CJL et al. Meaning making during parent-physician bereavement meetings after a child's death. Health Psychology. 2015 Apr 1;34(4):453-461. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000153