Date of Conferral



Doctor of Social Work (DSW)


Social Work


Yvonne M. Chase


Traumatic death survivors are an at-risk population that could benefit from social work interventions. This action research study explored social work perspectives on crisis practice with traumatic death survivors in acute medical settings. The research questions focused on whether early crisis interventions by social workers would benefit traumatic death survivors, which interventions were recommended in crisis practice with this population, the potential effects of repeated trauma exposure on the social workers providing the crisis interventions, and recommendations to manage this professional exposure to trauma. The purpose of the study was to explore social work perspectives on potential benefits of crisis interventions with traumatic death survivors and potential effects of crisis practice on the social workers providing the services. Crisis theory and family systems theory informed the study. Participants were selected from a convenience sample of licensed social workers, and data were collected in 1 focus group and 3 in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed using descriptive and thematic analysis. Findings supported the benefits of social work crisis interventions for traumatic death survivors and the need for self-care, self-awareness, and support to reduce the risks of negative effects of crisis practice on social workers. Specific crisis interventions recommended for practice include the roles of advocate and guide, grief support, viewing of the body, and explanation of next steps. An increase in knowledge and recommendations for future practice based on study findings might promote positive social change by raising awareness about the problem and improving social work practice with traumatic death survivors.