Supporting people with intellectual disabilities to discuss death and bereavement
evidence and practice    

Supporting people with intellectual disabilities to discuss death and bereavement

Diane Willis Lecturer, School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland
Euan Winton Lecturer, School of Arts and Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland
Kirstie Jamieson Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland
Norm Muir Senior Support Worker, Support Work Edinburgh City Council, Edinburgh, Scotland
Martine Sandison User Involvement, Garvald Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the importance of engaging with people with intellectual disabilities in discussions about death

  • To learn how a public engagement project enabled people with intellectual disabilities to have discussions about death and bereavement, and to participate in a public act of remembrance

  • To gain knowledge of the methods you could use in your practice to engage people with intellectual disabilities in conversations about death, dying and bereavement

This article describes a public engagement project on bereavement involving people with intellectual disabilities. The project was a practical application of research findings related to discussing death, dying and bereavement with people with intellectual disabilities. The project involved working with people with intellectual disabilities, staff from organisations that support them, and nursing and design students to make artificial lilies that could be illuminated for an interactive art installation. The site for the art installation was the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh, Scotland, where lilies were provided to members of the general public. The public participated in the installation by writing a message to someone who had died, then planting the lily in the garden as a means of remembrance. Through the development and implementation of the project, the authors identified that there was a desire among people with intellectual disabilities to discuss issues of loss and grief. This project also enabled people with intellectual disabilities to be part of a community of remembrance.

Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2020.e2045

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

d.willis2@napier.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Willis D, Winton E, Jamieson K et al (2020) Supporting people with intellectual disabilities to discuss death and bereavement. Learning Disability Practice. doi: 10.7748/ldp.2020.e2045

Acknowledgements The authors wish to acknowledge members of the Thursday Group and Garvald Edinburgh for their contribution to the project

Published online: 19 March 2020