In the pithy words of an old friend, “everything starts with a thought”. The idea for this guidebook arose out of a conversation with a social work colleague. We were both working at Surrey Hospice Society at the time. She was the Bereavement Counsellor, while I assisted volunteers in developing and sustaining supportive relationships with hospice clients and their families.
In addition to our other personal and professional experiences with end-of-life care, both of us had worked for many years with people labeled as having an intellectual disability. It was painfully evident to us both that people with intellectual disabilities often face significant barriers in accessing timely and appropriate bereavement support. My colleague and I reviewed the literature, shared our findings, and collaborated to create a series of workshops that we eventually co-presented. These included presentations at the B.C. Hospice and Palliative Care Association conference in 2007 and at conferences for the B.C. Association for Community Living, 2008 & 2009.
This guidebook is a brief overview of what we had gleaned from research at the time, from clinical practice, and also through our own personal experiences. It may be of particular interest to service providers in residential settings, as well as to family members, social workers, counsellors, and others wishing to be a supportive presence to adults with intellectual disabilities who are living with loss.
There is no charge for this Guidebook. Instead, I ask that you please consider making a donation to an agency or an organization that provides supports to people with disabilities and their families.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
Yvette Lepage, M.S.W., R.S.W.