Sudden Death: Intervention Skills for the Emergency Services

Tricia Scott

This book considers the practical management of sudden death and offers first-hand reflections of how emergency physicians, nurses, and allied health professionals cope. Sudden death is one of the most difficult aspects of emergency care, and the traumatic nature of some deaths can be devastating for the family and the emergency team. This book shows how practitioners confront the sudden death and the essential steps taken to manage the event that may have a critical impact on the grieving relative. The book explores the unique interactions between emergency and allied health practitioners and nurses, those who grieve and, the body itself. By understanding what is involved in sudden death work, and the practical, psychosocial and spiritual tensions that arise from managing the event and sequel, it may be possible to provide a more responsive service.

The book addresses sudden death from the multi-professional emergency and allied services perspective to guide either the seasoned practitioners or the new and apprehensive recruit. National emergency response systems have been strengthened to cope with the increasing trauma and disease burden which, for many unfortunate individuals, results in an immediate or swift death trajectory. This multidisciplinary teaching text uses first-hand detailed stories of sudden death encounters. By reflecting on these ‘happenings’ and illuminating on how specific events were handled, it is possible to build a picture not only of what sudden death workers ‘do’ when sudden death occurs but also how they feel about what they ‘do’. At the end of each chapter a series of activities will be posed to encourage the reader to make sense of their own practices when handling the legal and practical aspects and when supporting families and colleagues.

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