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P-7 One size doesn’t fit all! – supporting people through bereavement
  1. Jane Murray,
  2. Suzanne McCarthur,
  3. Ann Scanlon and
  4. Sarah Wells
  1. Marie Curie Hospice West Midlands, Solihull, UK


Background Grief is a normal response following a loss and not all people who are bereaved will need support or counselling [Graves, 2009]. Bereaved people approach their grief in a variety of different ways. Terry Martin and Kenneth Doka recognised that there are different patterns to grieving, these might or might not be related to male or female gender characteristics, and be more about coping strategies that a person develops. The traditional way of formally supporting people who have been bereaved is telephone support or face-to-face/one to-one counselling. Many people who are bereaved who consider support choose not to access these traditional services due to their own individual way of grieving; different coping strategies, and limited alternative support services available.

Results In response to the literature and requests from bereaved family members, Marie Curie Hospice, West Midlands has developed a broader range of bereavement support services that has scope to encompass individual ways of grieving. These include the traditional one-to-one support; family support sessions and remembrance services. In addition the Hospice Bereavement Support service also offers a hospice choir; a Walk and Talk group; a Men’s Shed group, a Bereaved Social Group and a Children’s Therapeutic Group. The broader range of support provides greater choice where people who have been bereaved can come together regardless of what point on the bereavement pathway they are on and meet others who are going through a similar life event. The uptake of the new services has been positive, with activity continually increasing. More men are now accessing bereavement support services and with the on-going development of a volunteer team, we are now able to offer children the opportunity to meet together and share their own experiences in a safe environment.

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