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    Supporting Significant Life Events

    Introduction to Supporting Significant Life Events

    Life events play a significant role in reshaping the life of a person. A significant life change can be any event or occurrence, gain or loss or even positive or negative but after that, life of individual gets change or somehow affected. Life event may be death of a beloved person, retirement, promotion, marriage, divorce and change in financial state etc.

    In this project, there is a case of Mr. George whose mother is suffering from Cancer. The project report includes the way in which the life of Mr. George gets affected due to life event which is faced by him that is his mother’s illness. Further, there is a discussion regarding the support from external sources which are available for the bereaved person with reference to the given case of George and his mother Garry.

    Explaining the impact of significant life events on individuals

    There is a great impact of the significant life event on individuals. The bereaved individual’s social, physical or psychological life gets affected due to any such cause or life event. The impact of significant life event on individual is as under:

    Physical Impact

    The person gets affected due to significant life event, he get weakens and scattered as well as suffers from the poor physical health due to instability in food habits. In the present case, Mr. George was also getting affected with the illness of his mother, Mrs. Garry. He was much stressed and disappointed which gives a bad impact on his health as he has become weak due to this. But, he was trying to cope up with the situation by taking proper care of his mother in her last time.

    Emotional impact

    The person gets mentally disturbed due to such cause along with becoming aggressive, deeply stressed and getting disappointed. Sometimes, it also gives a positive impact on the person as because of that, he becomes stronger to take the responsibility in that tough situation of dying person. Mr. George was also upset and sad but he tried his level best to take better care of his mother and to make her happy as well.

    Social impact

    Due to such impact, taking care and giving support to the patients to whom the individual is attached will result in detachment of the individual from society and his social life. He wants to live isolate and do not want to go outside or far away for a minute from the ill person. Social life of Mr. George also gets affected by the illness of his mother, Mrs. Garry. George who started spending his entire time in taking care of her mother and he also took a leave from his job. Due to all these, social life of George affected a lot.


    Ross grief cycle model is useful in understanding one's own and other people's emotional response to the personal trauma and change. As per this model, life of a person gets affected in 5 stages:


    It is the stage where conscious or subconscious mind of a person refuses to accept the fact. As per the case given, Mr. George's mother was suffering from cancer and he is also at this stage where he is refusing to accept the fact that his mother, Mrs. Gary suffered from any such kind of disease.


    In that stage, people become upset and disappointed due to such life event and get angry and aggressive as well. In case of Mr. George, he was going through the situation where he started blaming himself and feeling extremely guilty and stressed.


    At this stage, individual starts bargaining with God. People started demanding with god to improve the health and illness of their beloved one of family person. Doctor, Mr. George was also very sad and hurt as he was also praying to God for soon recovery of his mother’s illness.


    This is the stage where person becomes extremely sad and get the feeling of fear and anxiety. Mr. George was also frightened about the fact that he would lose his mother.


    Finally, at this stage, person accepted the reality and tried to move on in his life. As per the given case, Mr. George also accepted the reality of death of his mother and started working towards the fulfilment of his mother's dying wishes.

    Analyzing possible group response to bereavement

    The support group helps the bereavement to deal with the problems and trauma that they are facing. There are various groups which give a negative impact to the bereavement. The group’s response to bereavement is as under:

    Bereavement support group in hospital

    Mr. George get supported from other families in the hospital who suffered from the same situation. The response and support that he got from that family helped Mr. George to get the moral support and to cope up with the difficult situation.

    Palliative care team

    This team also supported George as they took him to visit the school where his mother, Mrs. Garry was the teacher in order to fulfil his mother’s wish before dying. The team supported him to talk to the people about the actual condition of Mrs. Garry and the type of treatment that she received.

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    Support Group

    The support group of society helped Mr. George a lot to get rid out of the difficult situation or trauma that he was facing. They talked with Mr. George and shared the words to give him their support.


    The response of family of Mr. George is they refuse to support him in terms of financial as well as emotional. This shows the negative response from family member side. The impact of this on patients were they health conditions becomes more worse as compare to the previous.

    Friends and colleagues

    Mr. George wants the support from his friends and colleagues at the time of facing the health issues. They have showed the positive behaviours towards his health and always came to meet him. The positive environment in care centre has helped Mr. George to improve in health conditions.

    Analyzing the impact for others in health and social care setting when an individual is bereaved

    The impact of health and social care on health care professionals can be categorized into physical, emotional and social affects. These impacts on individual is bereaved is as follows:


    Nurses are identified as having more extensive contact with patients than any other health care professionals. So, they took proper take of the patients and give support to their family members also (Oquendo and et.al., 2014). In the given case, George also got full support from the nurses and other working staff. This support and care from nurses gave moral support to the patients and their families as well.

    Social care workers

    Health and social care workers also get emotionally attached to the person and his family and promoted them their support in each and every manner. They provide their time and help to the bereaved for dealing with such life changing event.

    Support worker

    Supported groups and workers helped a lot in the difficult situation of Mrs. Garry when she was ill and his son was not there who could take care of her. After her death also, support group helped George to deal with the situation and provided him the moral support.

    Evaluating the effectiveness of organizational policies and procedures of supporting bereaved individuals

    According to the Macmillan Cancer care policies, the care centre and hospitals should provide proper care and support to the patient and his/her family. Macmillan Cancer care provides free cancer care tool kit which contains advice and guidance for the doctors and health care experts to manage and deal with the cancer patients at the workplace. For example, as per the given case, Mrs. Garry was getting proper health care services from the hospital but his son Mr. George was not getting the support from hospital as the staff members were too busy. The policies and procedure of shaping bereavement care were very supportive. The individual healthcare professionals provide the patients and their family with better health care services. They hire trained and efficient health care practitioners so that patients would not find any kind of problem. Another example is as per the case, Mrs. Garry was getting proper health treatment. The doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners were trained and qualified who gave the best services to the patients. Hospital was having all the equipments and advanced technology to take care of the cancer patient. But, George was not getting proper support from the hospital. As the staff members of hospital setting were too much indulged in their work, they were not able to provide their support to the family of patient.

    Explaining the ways in which others in social network may provide support to the bereaved individuals

    There are different ways by which other social network provides the support to the bereaved individuals in following ways:

    Physical support

    This support is given by the doctors, nurses and other health care service providers. They provided their moral support and services to the bereaved person. But, in case of George, hospital setting was too busy that the staffs were not able to provide proper support to him.

    Emotional support

    George was getting psychological support from some families in that hospital only who were experiencing the similar situation that he was facing. By talking with the people and getting support from them makes him feel motivated and they became little stronger to get rid out of their trouble.

    Financial support

    The bereaved individual get the financial support from various trusts and NGOs who are providing social care and support to the patients and their family to take proper treatment. George can also solve the problem of finance by arranging money from his company where he is working.

    Evaluating the suitability of external sources of support that are available for the bereaved individuals

    There are various external sources like Macmillan Cancer Care, Cruse Bereavement Care etc. that provide various kinds of support to the bereaved individuals. Macmillan Cancer Care provides support to more than 900 independent cancer support groups and organizations all over the UK. They talk with the bereaved individual and provide them moral support. The volunteers of McMillan offer practical and emotional support to the people and their family who are affected by cancer. The nurses of McMillan are the valued source of information that provides their best advice and support for cancer patients and their families. The other care group Cruse Bereavement Care (CBC) also provides number of services to the patients and their families to cope up with the grief. The volunteers of CBC provide special training to handle the bereaved people. The volunteers and counsellors of CBC are providing their services that are free of charge. George can also take the support of these groups and organizations to deal with the situation. Mrs. Garry and his son George were getting full support from the palliative care team and other support groups to face and cope with the difficult situation.

    Analyzing the possible organizational response to the need to support individuals that are experiencing a significant life event

    Organization should support Mrs. Garry by taking proper care of her by providing her better health care services with the best techniques and available equipments. Hospital was providing the best health care services and medication to Mrs. Garry. Quality care and treatment is being provided to her as she was suffering from cancer. Nurses and palliative care team provided their best services to Mrs. Garry. But, organization needs to make changes in their support groups for the family members of patients. The patient’s family and friends are not getting better services and support from the organization. Thus, staff of hospital should ensure that the bereaved individual must not be ignored and nurses, staff and other volunteers should provide the support to the bereaved people so that it will be easy for them to cope up and deal with that difficult time that they were facing. No other family member of George should be nearby him to support him. In that, it was the responsibility of hospital to take care and provide support to George to cope with such a life event of her mother’s illness. But, the reality was quite different as the hospital was too busy in their work.

    Personal contribution to the support of individuals that are experiencing significant life events

    I am a social care worker in a health care organization of UK. There are many patients who are facing different types of health issues such as mental illness, physical disable, genetic disorders, depression, eating problem, listening problem, sleep problems and many other things. Here, I am sharing my experience related to significant life event. In the care home, there was a 55 year old woman who had a late stage ovarian cancer. Her name was Juliet and she was having five children and one grandson.

    Two year before, me and my team were diagnosing this disease in her after death of her daughter. At that stage, her family refused to accept Juliet for providing any kind of financial and mental support. I was visiting at her room every day for knowing about her health. This routine check-up had increased my interaction with her children. After this, I was able to know about her illness, death and wishes before dying and the future of her children. By seeing the condition of Juliet, I had discussed all the things with my team members. Her wish was that she would like to die at her home in with peace.

    After seeing the entire situation, it was finalized that she will be sent to her home where her children will be around her. Two days later, after shifting Juliet at her home, she died. When I got the call from her daughter about Juliet’s death, I came to know that her family has refused to arrange the funeral and her children were completely helpless. In this situation, as a human being, I had to take some actions. In this context, I had arranged Juliet’s funeral as well as also informed this situation to her children’s school.

    After doing all these things and by helping someone, I have gained a kind of satisfaction level. Along with that, this life event also influenced me to think about that the way in which community has seen a person who was having a kind of mental or physical illness/disability. The perception of people has suddenly changed and this behaviour limits that person to isolate from society, family and friends.

    From this significant life event, I have learned that health care organizations have to develop some services by which the helpless people can take benefits of care services in a right manner. Along with this, the care centres also helped and supported those people who are not able to afford the health care services.

    Recommendations for improving the support that is available in a health and social care organization for individuals and their social networks which are affected by significant life events

    Recommendations for improving support that is available in health and social care organization are as under:

    Emotional Support

    Caring of cancer patients is a very difficult and tough task. Depending on the need of patients, doctors, care takers and nurses have to make the things available to the patients and to give them emotional support to deal or cope up with the difficult situation. It is important to help the person and to give them support for making them feel little control over their life.


    It is the responsibility of care takers in the hospital to communicate or interact with the person who has cancer and also to the family of that patient. Organization or hospitals should provide assurance to the patients and his family that hospital is with them and they are providing the best facilities for quick recovery from such a big life changing event.


    Some patient’s family needs counselling to resolve their problem and to get an idea of the way to cope or deal with the situations. In counselling, the family members of patients discuss about their problem and receive guidance and advice from the trained health care professionals. Through working together, both the family members and health care professionals try to build patient’s morale and provide them the best support.


    Health care organization should develop and train volunteers to take care of the family members of patients and to give them their support. To deal with such a big life event, the only thing that is required to patient’s family is moral support. So, hospitals should provide better health care services and medication to the patients along with assistance and support to the family members of patient.

    Group sessions for the bereaved

    There can further be group sessions that can be conducted for the patient and his family members to help them to cope up with the situation. Carrying out these discussions will assist the patient and his family in coping up with the difficult situation that they are facing. It may further reduce the burden faced by health care professionals to remove the doubts of individuals.


    From the project report, it can be concluded that life event gives a drastic impact on the bereaved individual. It has been assessed from the report that palliative care team and support group provided the best care and support to Mrs. Garry (patient) and her son, George. Further, it was also found that to cope up with the situation, various social groups and social network provide physical, psychological and financial support to the bereaved individual. They provided their care, guidance and support without any charges. At last, it can also be concluded that hospitals and health care organization should provide proper care, treatment and support to the cancer patient and his family to make them able to cope up with the difficult situation.


    • Bonanno, G. A., 2009. The other side of sadness: What the new science of bereavement tells us about life after loss. Basic Books.
    • Douma, J. C. H., Dekker, M. C and Koot, H. M., 2006. Supporting parents of youths with intellectual disabilities and psychopathology.Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.
    • Feeney, J. and Kenny, R. A., 2015. The impact of prior exposure to stressful life events and current perceived stress on heart rate variability in older adults: Results from the Irish longitudinal study on ageing.Psychoneuroendocrinology.
    • Hanks, G. and et.al., 2011. Oxford textbook of palliative medicine.FAMILY MEDICINE.
    • Holdsworth, L., Nuske, E. and Hing, N., 2014. A grounded theory of the influence of significant life events, psychological co-morbidities and related social factors on gambling involvement.International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
    • Irby‐Shasanmi, A. and Redmond, D. L., 2014. Stressful Life Events.The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society.
    • Kaplow, J. B. and et.al., 2014. Emotional suppression mediates the relation between adverse life events and adolescent suicide: Implications for prevention.Prevention science

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