Bereaved families to get extra support after loss | News

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Bereaved families to get extra support after loss

Families who are grieving for loved ones can benefit from a new bereavement service.

Staff within the supportive and palliative care team have developed the new service to support people who are bereaved and to check in on their wellbeing.

Lucy Kellaway, lead nurse for supportive and palliative care, said: “It’s always been something that our team has been keen to explore and offer to relatives. At the moment, families get given a bereavement booklet by the ward after their relative dies, but for us we always wanted to try and offer something a bit more personal than that.

“It’s been a long time coming. I wanted to find a way to do something with the excellent skillset that we have in our team. We don’t have counsellors so we are not in a position to offer bereavement counselling, but we are in a good position to provide some listening and signposting to other services if there is a need for this.

“We are lucky to get to know lots of families and carers and we establish supportive relationships with them when they are feeling very vulnerable.

“We came up with the idea of a bereavement follow-up call to check in on their overall wellbeing, offer the opportunity to talk about their loved one, and if there are any concerns raised about how they are managing then we can signpost people to services that might be able to provide further help.

“Sometimes when people are struggling they don’t know where to go or where to look.

“Research shows that most people have the support of their family and friends, but for people that do not have that supportive network around them, they might need extra support.”

The team will collect details for the patient’s nominated contact if they have died whilst being supported by the Royal Surrey end of life care plan and will contact them around three months later to check on their mental wellbeing and to offer help, if needed.

Lucy added: “It’s going to be a collaborative effort within the whole team, and we are very enthusiastic and excited to start it. 

“Often when someone dies, bereaved people have a lot of support initially from people around them and they have a lot to organise with the funeral and the admin that comes with it.

“Often, after three to four months people find that the support dissipates a little as lives return to normal again. That’s the time when people need that contact.

“It feels nice to be able to offer something extra to people after their loved one has died, and for them to feel like they haven’t been forgotten.”

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