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Grief café helps community nurses cope with patient deaths

The café, opened by a nurse at a London hospital, is an informal space to discuss loss, death and dying and how they affect nurses personally and professionally
Kate Price (right) and Catherine Lacey run one-hour sessions at the Good Grief Café at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London

The café, opened by a nurse at a London hospital, is an informal space to discuss loss, death and dying and how they affect nurses personally and professionally

A London nurse has launched a grief café to help community nurses talk about their experiences of loss, death and dying.

Professional nurse advocate Kate Price co-runs one-hour sessions at the Good Grief Café at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital with Catherine Lacey, a clinical psychologist for staff support.

The café is an informal space that allows NHS community staff, who often provide end of life care to patients outside hospital, to reflect on how death affects

The café, opened by a nurse at a London hospital, is an informal space to discuss loss, death and dying and how they affect nurses personally and professionally

Kate Price (right) and Catherine Lacey run one-hour sessions at the Good Grief Café at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London
Kate Price (right) and Catherine Lacey run one-hour sessions at the Good Grief Café at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London

A London nurse has launched a grief café to help community nurses talk about their experiences of loss, death and dying.

Professional nurse advocate Kate Price co-runs one-hour sessions at the Good Grief Café at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital with Catherine Lacey, a clinical psychologist for staff support.

The café is an informal space that allows NHS community staff, who often provide end of life care to patients outside hospital, to reflect on how death affects them personally and professionally.

With National Grief Awareness Week running until 8 December, Ms Price said the idea came to her during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic when record numbers of patients were dying.

‘During the pandemic our community staff experienced an unprecedented number of patient deaths and a significant increase in the number of patients receiving palliative care,’ she said.

It is not uncommon for nurses to experience grief following the death of a patient

‘We developed the Good Grief Café to acknowledge the accumulation of grief we experience throughout our careers, to normalise the grief process and to provide extra support – looking after the mental health of our staff is just as important as their physical health.’

Neighbourhood nursing development coach Cendrig Rodriguez
Cendrig Rodriguez

She said death and dying are often considered part of the job for a healthcare worker but it was not uncommon for nurses to experience grief following the death of a patient.

Neighbourhood nursing teams in Rotherhithe, Bermondsey South and Bermondsey North took part in a pilot of Good Grief Café, with 91% scoring the sessions as ‘useful’ to ‘very useful’.

Neighbourhood nursing development coach Cendrig Rodriguez attended the café after experiencing a family bereavement and said it was a relief to finally talk about something he had been keeping to himself.

He said: ‘It’s hard to let go but speaking in that protected environment made me feel comfortable so I could open up – it made me feel heard and valued.’


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