Poster Discussion Abstracts
Aims & Objectives:
When a child dies unexpectedly from an accident, illness, or exacerbation of chronic illness, a coroner (medical examiner) is often involved to investigate the cause and circumstances of death. In the PICU, this process often begins with the arrival of police officers working on behalf of the coroner, who identify the body and collect statements from the family. The aim of this analysis was to explore bereaved parents’ experiences of the police in PICU as part of routine coronial investigations.
Secondary analysis of incidental data from a larger grounded theory study. Nine bereaved parents from two Australian PICUs commented on police presence during semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data and identify key themes in the parents’ experiences.
Three key findings were identified in the data. Timing of police interviews demonstrates the immediacy of police presence after a child’s death, and the prolonged length of parental questioning. The impacts of police presence describes the ways the police presence impacted on the parents’ experiences, often leaving them feeling accused of involvement in their child’s death. Finally, The demeanour of the officers explores the inappropriate or unsympathetic attitudes many parents faced from the police officers they encountered.
These findings suggest that parental experiences of police presence in the PICU as part of coronial investigations may be negative. Although further research is needed to fully understand these experiences, our findings offer areas for improvement in the treatment of bereaved parents in the PICU.