Lives forever changed: Family bereavement experiences after sudden cardiac death

D. Dale M. Mayer, Anne G. Rosenfeld, Kathleen Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Aim: To describe the bereavement experiences of families who survived the sudden cardiac death of a family member and identify meanings of loss. Background: Approximately 325,000 people experience sudden cardiac death (SCD) annually. It is important to examine family experiences after SCD because of the life altering impact of death on surviving family members. Methods: A descriptive design, using the qualitative method of narrative analysis, was used to analyze family stories of bereavement. Results: Five themes were identified across seven families: sudden cardiac death boom; saying goodbye; grief unleashes volatile emotional reactions; life goes on but never back to normal; and meanings in loss. Conclusions: This study adds to an understanding of family bereavement and findings suggest that providing information about the cause of death and allowing family members to tell their stories are potentially important interventions for clinicians who interact with bereaved families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-173
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Nursing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Family bereavement
  • Narrative analysis
  • Qualitative
  • Sudden cardiac death (SCD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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