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Beyond talking therapy: diverse bereavement support
  1. Catherine Prrot
  1. St Nicholas Hospice Care, Bury St Edmunds, UK


Introduction The purpose of this project was to provide a more comprehensive, inclusive bereavement service to the local community.

Aims were to

  • Empower and enable resilience in diverse ways

  • Offer less threatening support to those not choosing one to one counselling

  • Offer a social / activity-based alternative for people who develop attachment to hospice-based services

  • Explore partnerships with other providers, reducing duplication and giving clarification

  • Integrate Bereavement Needs Assessment (BNA) research findings.

Methods The bereavement service, in its routine evaluation and consultation from our Service User advisory group, confirmed a need for greater diversity in its methods. This led to the ‘traditional’ bereavement groups being supplemented by cookery, home maintenance classes, walking and creative activity, as well as with drop-in facilities.

Results The new groups started successfully, with interest and satisfaction from those using it.

Agreement has been reached with other providers to explore the potential for collaboration and partnership in providing a one stop bereavement service: a joint event is now at the planning stage.

Discussion It is often more vulnerable people who find it harder to use traditional bereavement services and this project will continue to broaden those accessing it. Success also needs to be measured by evidence that people are accessing the right kind of support for themselves.

Conclusion Early signs are that individual need is being appropriately met through the offer of more diverse forms of support and that potential partners are interested in exploring the benefits of collaboration.

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