Wellington Intensive Care Unit

Te Rui Atawhai



The bereavement service is a nurse-led team that provides follow-up support for families who have lost a relative in the Intensive Care Unit. We aim to provide support and comfort during this difficult time.
All nurses involved in the bereavement follow-up service are practising Intensive Care nurses working in our unit. At present, five nurses make over 100 telephone calls a year to families who have requested further contact after the death of a family member in ICU.

We recognise that patients who die, particularly if their illness was sudden or unexpected, often generate a large number of unanswered questions that those who are left behind may need answers to.

Wellington ICU Bereavement Service Telephone Call

The ICU bereavement service has produced a leaflet providing further information that may help following the death of a loved one.
This can be downloaded using the button below.


  • Initial contact at time of death with written information provided
  • A follow-up letter to remind next -of-kin that the bereavement team will contact them
  • Initial telephone call at six weeks
  • Ongoing support, referral or family meeting as required
  • Family are able to request no further contact at any stage
After someone dies in the Intensive Care Unit, their family are notified of our service and asked if they would like to be contacted later. If they agree, they are initially followed-up by letter to remind them that someone will call.

Around six weeks after the death, the nominated person will be contacted by telephone. The aims of the initial call are to listen, ascertain their needs, and to remind them that we are able to support them if they wish.
If additional support is required, we are able to advise them of appropriate social support groups available in the Wellington region. Further follow-up will be continued as necessary at the request of the family.


  • To support grieving relatives
  • To try to resolve outstanding issues
  • To provide links to support groups
  • To answer questions about the ICU stay or death of a loved one
  • To arrange a family meeting with medical staff if required
Re-establishing communication with the family also provides an opportunity to answer any outstanding questions.

Occasionally families need a face-to-face meeting with the senior medical staff involved in the care of their loved one.
Everyone responds differently to grief. It is important to remember that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to grieve.

The bereavement service will set-up and attend these meetings in the hope that providing further information will better equip family members to work through their grieving process.

If you would like more information regarding the Wellington ICU bereavement service, please contact Estelle Walker (RN, Wellington ICU)

This page was last updated on Friday, 03 August 2018 16:14:40