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Death Communication: What We've Failed to Teach

  • Upon conclusion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand the state of current education as it relates to death and grieving;
  • List five practices EMS providers can implement to alleviate family suffering;
  • Describe how occupational resilience is essential to effective EMS work;
  • Learn what terms to avoid when communicating with those who are grieving. 


1. Smith TL, Walz BJ. Death education in paramedic programs: a nationwide assessment. Death Stud, 1995 May–Jun; 19(3): 257–67.

2. Wolfram RW, Timmel DJ, Doyle CR, Ackerman AD, Lebet R. Incorporation of a “Coping with the Death of a Child” module into the pediatric advanced life support (PALS) curriculum. Acad Emerg Med, 1998 Mar; 5(3): 242–6.

3. Doyle CJ, Post H, Burney RE, et al. Family participation during resuscitation: an option. Ann Emerg Med, 1987 Jun; 16(6): 673–5.

4. Jabre P, Tazarourte K, Azoulay E, et al. Offering the opportunity for family to be present during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: 1-year assessment. Intensive Care Med, 2014 Jul; 40(7): 981–7.

5. Shaw K, Ritchie D, Adams G. Does witnessing resuscitation help parents come to terms with the death of their child? A review of the literature. Intensive Crit Care Nurs, 2011 Oct; 27(5): 253–62.

6. Toronto CE, LaRocco SA. Family perception of and experience with family presence during cardiopulmonary resuscitation: An integrative review. J Clin Nurs, 2019 Jan; 28(1–2): 32–46.

7. American Heart Association: Part 2: Ethical aspects of CPR and ECC. Circulation, 2000; 102: I-12–I-i-21.

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  • After passing the course, your certificate will be available for download here.