Many of us working in health and social care will come across situations at work where staff members are bereaved or perhaps experience the death of a colleague. Knowing what to say and do in these situations to provide support to employees and co-workers can be challenging and naturally people may feel apprehensive. These resources are designed to help managers identify some responses and actions to support bereaved employees, colleagues, teams and themselves in the workplace. The resources include key points that are relevant to all situations, as well as more specific points that may apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees who are bereaved

This guidance is designed to help line managers have confidence to support employees who have experienced bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff members may experience bereavement following the death of a close family member, friend, more distant relative or others they know. Each of us experience grief in our own way and our needs may change over time. Adopting a compassionate approach in the workplace with our employees may reduce their anxiety and help to lessen the impact of grief.

A print-friendly version of this resource is available here.

Employees who are bereaved resource screenshot

Experiencing the death of a colleague

The death of a colleague will be particularly unsettling and upsetting for their co-workers and team members.

This guidance is designed to help staff and managers identify some initial steps that may help to ensure people have an opportunity to express their grief, to mark the death in a way that feels appropriate for them and to receive the support that they need.

A print-friendly version of this resource is available here.

There is more information to help communicate with people who are bereaved here.

Experiencing the death of a colleague resource screenshot

Coping with death and bereavement as a health and social care professional

This film introduces the acronym ‘TALK’ 

  • Tell Ask Listen Kindness

which was designed to help health and social care professionals cope with death and bereavement. It encourages staff to support each other with simple strategies such as talking to your colleagues, asking how your team are doing, listening to one another and showing kindness to yourself and others.

Click on the image to the right to watch the video or here to view it on the NHS Education for Scotland Vimeo channel

Talking and being with people who are bereaved


This short film was developed for health and social care professionals who may encounter families who are bereaved, however it may also have some relevance to managers who have a staff member that is bereaved, or following the death of a colleague. It is important to be aware of ways to sensitively approach interactions with people who are grieving; to have the confidence to talk or just listen.

A downloadable leaflet which accompanies the video can be found here. transcript of this video can be found here.