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Online training to help people support grieving family and friends

An online training course developed by the Irish Hospice Foundation will help people to support family, friends and colleagues who have lost a person they love.

Image: Shawn Carpenter via Creative Commons

MEMBERS OF THE public will be able to learn how to support grieving family, friends and colleagues though a new bereavement support training website, developed by the Irish Hospice Foundation.

The website, the first of its kind in Europe, is hosting its first online training course called Lost for Words, says the IHF.

An estimated 300,000 people are directly affected by bereavement annually in Ireland. The IHF says that approximately one in 10 of the working population is directly affected by a death each year while one in 25 workers are caring for a seriously ill relative.

Launching the website today, RTÉ presenter Miriam O’Callaghan said: “We will all be bereaved at some stage and, of course, we will face supporting grieving friends, neighbours, relatives and work colleagues.

We sometimes wonder what we can do when someone loses a person they love. It is an awkward subject and none of us are experts. But we should reach out and acknowledge their loss rather than ignoring the issue – simple words and gestures can help someone on the bereavement journey.”

The online training course will include case studies to provide guidelines on how to support a grieving person. It offers insights on supporting someone who is terminally ill and how to respond on the death of a child, death through suicide and supporting children when they are grieving.

Breffni McGuinness, IHF Training Officer, said that research had highlighted a need for “accessible training that would have a wide reach and would allow people to skill themselves, in their own time, with the knowledge they need to help a friend, colleague or family member”.

He said that the fee for the course affordable for most, and that those who undertook the training could rely on receiving “accurate information that is evidence-based and has the support of a cross section of respected bereavement support providers”.

The IHF, a national charity which promotes the hospice philosophy and supports the development of hospice and palliative care, is also developing Level 2 and Level 3 training programmes for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of bereavement support or for professionals who wish to upskill.

The online training website is accessed through the Irish Hospice Foundation’s website.

The IHF course costs €10 for individuals and €250 for a group of 50 or over; a reduced rate is being offered until the end of November 2011, at €5 per person and €125 for a group of 50 or over.

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