BACKGROUND: Bereavement is a major life event often leading to psychiatric morbidity. Provision of bereavement care is poorly established in general hospital settings.
OBJECTIVE: We describe a novel bereavement service in a large secondary care institution and assess its impact.
DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS: In this descriptive study, data from the first year of operation of the service was obtained. The questions from interviews with relatives stemming from the bereavement care service were reviewed and categorized. Potential predictors of requesting a follow-up meeting were analyzed.
RESULTS: Of the 1384 bereaved relatives who were written to, 142 requested follow-up and 119 (8.6%) culminated in a bereavement follow-up meeting. The most common questions asked were for further details regarding the diagnosis (29%), why the patient had deteriorated so quickly (28%), what the diagnosis was (24%), and the sequence of events (24%). Relatives of younger patients and those from specialties other than medicine or surgery were more likely to seek bereavement follow-up (p<0.01 in each case).
CONCLUSION: A specialized bereavement service is feasible in a large hospital trust and allows follow-up of relatives with ongoing questions and concerns, with the opportunity of reducing severe grief reactions.
- Age Factors
- Aged, 80 and over
- Attitude to Death
- Hospice Care
- Length of Stay
- Logistic Models
- Organizational Case Studies
- Professional-Family Relations
- Secondary Care
- Sex Factors
- Social Support
- Time Factors