Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 10, October 2010

Surviving spousal bereavement Insights for GPs

Pam McGrath Hamish Holewa Meg McNaught
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Spousal bereavement is documented as a highly stressful event. This article presents findings from research that explored bereavement survivors’ perspectives on what support factors were most helpful to them.
General practitioners play an important role in bereavement care. Key factors assisting bereavement survivors include appropriate referral to palliative care, maintaining a supportive informal network and keeping busy.
Partner loss results in significant grief; the initial period is most intense but the grieving continues over a long period. Factors identified as assisting bereaved spouses include: hospice bereavement assistance provided before, during and following the bereavement; having a support network, including both informal support networks and formal support from general practitioners; and keeping active and busy.

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