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Supporting people bereaved through advanced illness: a systematic review of the evidence
  1. Emily J Harrop1,
  2. Luke Cowey1,
  3. Fiona Morgan1,2,
  4. Anthony Byrne1,3,
  5. Stephanie Sivell1,
  6. Jim Fitzgibbon1,
  7. Sara Pickett4 and
  8. Annmarie Nelson1
  1. 1Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Centre, Cardiff University, UK
  2. 2SURE, Cardiff University, UK
  3. 3Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff, UK
  4. 4Swansea Centre for Health Economics, Swansea University, UK


Background Palliative care has an important role to play in addressing the bereavement needs of families, although a lack of evidence-based guidance has been noted (Hudson et al., 2012; PeolcPSP 2015). A small number of systematic reviews of bereavement interventions are available, but these have typically been restricted to evidence from randomised controlled trials and provide little information on interventions and support specifically provided for adult populations bereaved through advanced, progressive illnesses (e.g. Forte et al., 2004; Currier et al., 2008).

Aim To systematically review the evidence on bereavement support for adults bereaved through advanced, progressive illness.

Methods Key databases have been searched using indexed terms and key words for papers published in English between 1990 and 2016. Supplementary searches will also be conducted. The review will include studies conducted in the UK or comparable countries reporting evaluations of interventions or services, delivered to adults bereaved through advanced, progressive illness. Study quality will be assessed using appropriate checklists. This mixed methods review will identify interventions and services and look at both the quantitative and qualitative evidence for their effectiveness and utility.

Results/conclusions This review, funded by Marie Curie, will help to identify what type of bereavement support works best for different groups of people, and how such support might be improved. It is also being used to inform the development of a Core Outcome Set for bereavement research in palliative care. This presentation will provide an overview of results, highlight gaps in the evidence base and make recommendations for further research.


  1. Currier J, Nemeiyer R, Berman J. The effectiveness of psychotherapeutic interventions for bereaved persons: A comprehensive quantitative review. Psychol Bull 2008;134:648–661

  2. Forte A, Hill M, Pazda R, Feudtner C, et al. Bereavement care interventions: a systematic review. BMC Palliat Care 2004;3:3

  3. Hudson P, Remedios C, Zordan R, et al. Guidelines for the psychosocial and bereavement support of family caregivers of palliative care. J Palliat Med 2012;15(6):696–702

  4. Palliative and end of life care Priority Setting Partnership. Putting patients, carers and clinicians at the heart of palliative and end of life care research, 2015.

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