Background The 2016 National Survey of Bereaved People (VOICES) found 20% of people close to a dying person would have liked to talk to someone from bereavement or health and social services about their feelings, but did not get the opportunity to1. The hospital specialist palliative care team (SPCT) at our hospital is involved in 50% of inpatient deaths each year. It is important that staff have the required knowledge and confidence to provide patients, and those important to them, with information about appropriate bereavement services, and when necessary, to refer to these services.
Methods An anonymous online survey was sent to all clinical members of the hospital SPCT to evaluate knowledge of available bereavement services and confidence in provision of bereavement care. A scoping exercise of local and national bereavement services, and an audit of inpatient deaths within the last year were carried out.
Results 14 SPCT clinical staff completed the survey (response rate 67%): 25% of responders felt confident signposting patients or those important to them, to a bereavement service. 67% knew about bereavement support provided by local hospices and 50% were aware of national bereavement organisations, but only 14% knew of local boroughs’ bereavement services. 79% felt they would benefit from a guide to support the provision of bereavement care. Informed by the scoping exercise and the audit of inpatient deaths a ‘Bereavement support guide’ was produced, incorporating services provided by the Trust, Borough based services, support available through community SPCTs, and national organisations.
Conclusion To support SPCT staff to provide information about bereavement services we produced a ‘Bereavement support guide’. Limitations were the initial survey was only completed by two-thirds of the SPCT; and the impact of the guide on staff confidence and knowledge has not yet been evaluated. This is an area for future study.
NICE impact end of life care for adults, National Institute of Clinical Excellence.
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