Perspectives of US Direct Care Workers on the Grief Process of Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Implications for Practice

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The study explored the grief process of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (PWIDDs) as perceived by direct care workers (DCWs) and how such workers can guide and support PWIDDs experiencing grief.

Materials and Methods

A thematic analysis approach was used to examine data from nine focus groups with 60 DCWs from five community-based organizations.


Findings were supported in the context of seminal grief and bereavement theories. Three themes (i.e. reactions to loss, processing the loss and incorporating the loss) and related subthemes emerged from the data.


PWIDDs are susceptible to traumatic grief, and DCWs are often key witnesses to such experiences. DCWs' perspectives can guide the development of grief and bereavement training which can lead to more tailored support systems.

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