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Int J Palliat Nurs. 2004 Dec;10(12):569-76.

Survey of UK hospice and specialist palliative care adult bereavement services.

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Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, 22-28 Princess Road West, Leicester LE1 6TP, UK.



Postal survey of UK hospices and specialist palliative care services providing adult bereavement support.


Descriptive statistics and content analysis of free text replies.


Three hundred services were identified, with 248 valid responses (83%). Of these, 198 (80%) were in England and 180 (73%) were associated with inpatient units. Most had been in existence for at least 10 years. Paid staff were used by 219 services (88%) and volunteers were involved in 168 services (68%). A small minority did not provide supervision for their bereavement staff. A quarter of services had insufficient staff. The most common activities were individual support, telephone support, written information, memorialization events and group support. Ninety-five services (43%) formally assessed the need for individual support. One hundred and fourteen services (51%) had no formal mechanisms for bereaved people to provide feedback about such support. Formal audit and evaluation of bereavement services was uncommon.


The main elements of bereavement support can be identified but their combination varies. Assessment of people for individual support varies and the small size of many services may inhibit the effective delivery of support. Audit and evaluation of bereavement support may need to be developed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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