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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Bereavement: A Comprehensive Guide for Health Professionals

by Mirsad Serdarevic, PhD 3 CE Credits

In the United States more than 2 million persons die annually, often leaving surviving family members requiring support services to assist them with the grief process. Symptoms of bereavement are generally similar to symptoms characteristic of a Major Depressive Episode and can include sadness, insomnia, poor appetite and weight loss. However, grief can be experienced in different ways depending on factors such as age, gender, social and cultural influences, social supports and the provision of after-care services. While research efforts across health disciplines (i.e., counseling, psychology, social work, palliative medicine, psychiatry, and nursing) have led to evidence-based treatments for the bereaved patient, there remains a gap in the training of health professionals with regard to the delivery of care for bereaved persons. This course attempts to fill that gap with a comprehensive, overview of the roles health professionals play in caring for these patients and a theory-and evidence-based presentation of relevant treatment approaches.  Specifically, grief stage theory, the importance of social and group support in the management of bereavement, and differential bereavement symptomatology across sociodemographic boundaries are discussed, including the impact of age and a cross-cultural perspective on bereavement and complicated grief treatment.

Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 3 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForumOnline, LLC, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0355
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Stage Theories of Grief
  • Identifying Normal Grief vs. Prolonged Grief Disorder (Formerly Complicated Grief)
  • A Brief Overview of Grief Assessment
  • The Importance of Social Support in Bereavement
  • Support Group Models
  • Special Considerations in Care Provision: Gender, Timing, & Skill Level
  • Targeted Populations of Interest
  • Multicultural Issues
  • Ethical Considerations in Bereavement Research
  • Web-based Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Identify the 5 stages of bereavement and comparatively integrate that with current research on stage theory models.
  • Discuss research findings on the effectiveness of 2 prominent treatment modalities for bereaved patients.
  • Recognize 6 psychological symptoms associated with the bereavement experience and differentiate bereavement symptomatology among 3 different age groups. 
  • Articulate the effectiveness of bereavement support across 5 different cultures and social contexts.