Providing various public sector employees with the know-how to notify persons about tragic loss will be the objective of the fourth annual conference hosted by the National Assistance Board’s (NAB) Bereavement Support Services, which falls under the Ministry of Social Care. It will run from December 2 to 4 at three different locations.

Entitled “Special Issues and Loss: Death Notification: Breaking of Bad News”, the conference has been designed for police officers, firemen, military personnel, prison officers, doctors, nurses and other health care personnel.

According to Deputy Director of the NAB, Deiann Sobers, the conference is specifically targeting first responders. Pointing out that many persons who were responsible for communicating “bad news did so without compassion or caring”, she explained:  “Persons would call or visit a family member and deliver news of a tragic loss without enquiring whether he or she was home alone or someone is close by to give them support after receiving this news.  It is not only what these persons say but how they say it. And, it is not that they are deliberately uncaring, it’s just that they don’t know how to or are fearful of doing so.”

Ms. Sobers indicated that the conference would help the participants with their body language, tone of voice, and giving the correct information.  At the end of it, she said it was hoped that those who attended would become trainers for those who were unable to attend.

More than 400 persons are expected to attend the three-day conference which will run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. daily. The first venue will be the Royal Barbados Police Force Band Headquarters, on Tuesday, December 2; the second, at the Regional Police Training School on Wednesday, December 3, and the final venue will be the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday, December 4. 

Communication Specialist in Crisis Communication, Dr. Gary Ellis, who is a former Superintendent of the Toronto Police Service in Canada, will assist the NAB in conducting the conference. He will deliver an overview on the “Role of the First Responder”. 

An opening ceremony will be held at the Royal Police Band Headquarters, Prince Cave Auditorium, District A, Station Hill, St. Michael.  Minister of Social Care, Dr. Denis Lowe, will declare the seminar open, while NAB’s Director, Clayton Springer and Ms. Sobers will give welcome and opening remarks, respectively.

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