Bereavement support: From the poor cousin of palliative care to a core asset of compassionate communities

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19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The negative consequences of bereavement and the disruption of social relationships put the impact of bereavement squarely into a public health perspective. Adopting and strengthening a Compassionate Communities approach is necessary, not only for end-of-life care for dying people but also for providing bereavement support. Many palliative care services continue to adopt an unhelpful standardised approach in offering bereavement support. So, who provides support to the bereaved? Who needs support and to what extent? Importantly, who is perceived by bereaved people to have offered them support and was it helpful? Based on reported experiences of the bereaved in a national Australian survey, the majority of this support is provided in informal and other community settings by a range of people already involved in the everyday lives of those recently bereaved. A public health approach to bereavement care is needed to support ‘everyday assets’ in the community without over-reach from professional services. Findings provided empirical evidence for building a community’s capacity to provide the type of social and practical support advocated by the Compassionate Communities approach. This body of work, innovative in content, conceptual model and recruitment approach, challenged the existing bereavement support structure and provision and has influenced practice and policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Palliative Care
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020

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