Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 6
Winter 1992
Prize-winning video aids bereavement counselors
     A young man and woman, weeping quietly, hold each other. She is
in a hospital bed; he sits beside her. They have just learned their
newborn did not survive.
     The man and woman are actors. The scene is part of an
award-winning videodisc presentation that allows the viewer to behave
as a bereavement counselor and choose one of several responses to best
help the parents cope with their grief.
     Madeline Lambrecht, assistant professor of nursing and nationally
recognized death educator, developed the program with the assistance
of fellow faculty members Linda Matocha and Dorothy Moser, in
cooperation with the University's Instructional Technology video unit.
     The interactive program, entitled "Bereavement Counseling:
Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives," has won three prestigious
awards since entering the education market in the summer of 1990.
     Distributed by the American Journal of Nursing, the health care
teaching tool consists of two discs, each of which takes six hours to
     The discs can replace or enhance bereavement courses, which
attempt to prepare nurses and other medical professionals for the
inevitable moment when they will be faced with the death of a patient.
Part I, entitled "Bereavement Issues," explores the viewer's feelings
about death and presents the hard decisions faced by the surviving
family members. This disc functions as a sort of death rehearsal.
     Part II, "Bereavement Support Strategies," uses actors simulating
three separate life loss situations: the death of an infant, of an
adult and of an elderly person. The viewer acts as bereavement
counselor and must decide what to say and how to handle the situation.
Before entering this section of the videodisc, the viewer, through the
use of text and a demonstration module, is exposed to the consuming,
multi-dimensional impact of grief. Typical and atypical responses and
support strategies to use with each are given.
     -Barbara Garrison