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P-6 Gp listening project: hospice volunteers are based in a healthcare centre to listen to the bereaved
  1. Jutta Maria Widlake
  1. St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, UK


Background Bereaved people need to tell their story. Often they are bursting to do so. Yet families can’t always listen; churches are often locked; bereavement and counselling services have waiting lists and GPs lack time to listen. This project seeks to give bereaved people a chance to tell their story. Hospice volunteers are based in a local healthcare centre (Beacon Medical Group, Plymouth). The project is inspired by the Community Chaplaincy Listening project (Scotland).

Aims The main aim is to offer bereaved people the opportunity to tell their story thus offering a social, cathartic or therapeutic experience. A subsequent aim is for St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth to widen its reach. Hospice care is reaching out to people whose loved one was not known to the hospice; the death may have been accidental, suicidal or homicidal.

Methods GPs identify people for whom bereavement is an issue and introduce the service. The person self-refers via a brief form. The coordinator books people in to see trained listeners who are available on a set day per week offering four sessions each 1.5 hours long. The listener explains that the bereaved person decides how often they want to be seen and that just attending once may be helpful. The person is sent a feedback questionnaire.

Results Out of 12 potential referrers (GPs) three referred in the first month. Seven out of 12 sessions were utilised by six women and one man; one other didn’t attend. Three lost their parent; four lost their spouse. All attended once and are aware they can return. One questionnaire has been returned evaluating the service as excellent across 10 domains.

Conclusion The pilot will be evaluated fully in October 2017.

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