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18  Accessing bereavement support: a secondary analysis of UK commission on bereavement (UKCB) evidence
  1. Catherine Elizabeth Grimley and
  2. John MacArtney
  1. University of Warwick


Introduction There are significant social and healthcare inequalities in the provision and access to bereavement services. With the increase in deaths and experiences of bereavement, the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the need to address this crucial area of psychological, social and healthcare support. The UKCB was set up to respond to the challenges of the pandemic by hearing about the lived experience of bereavement.

Aims The study aimed to draw on UKCB data to analyse the experiences of those bereaved in the last five years to explore how age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation were associated with inequalities relating to access, effectiveness, satisfaction, and delivery of services.

Methods An in-depth qualitative thematic secondary analysis was conducted of free text data from 1119 individual and 130 organisational UKCB survey responses.

Age Those over 50 reported not wanting to cause a fuss, saw seeking help as a weakness and were reluctant to access digital support. Family pressures, lack of time, and perceptions of less support available for younger people were reported in respondents under 50 years. Ethnicity: The value of support was compromised where there were language barriers and a lack of cultural and religious understanding. Sexuality: LBGTQ+ respondents valued non-judgemental understanding and a feeling of belonging from support where this is lacking on a wider level. Gender: Men leaned toward a preference for more informal and practical support. In more formal support they found difficulties in talking with those unconnected with family and friends.

Conclusions Age, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation affected many respondents’ access to formal and informal bereavement support as well as the effectiveness, satisfaction, and delivery of services.

Impact The study contributed recommendations which add to those of the UKCB, that can help to reduce inequalities in effective bereavement support.

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