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.
A qualitative telephone survey was
conducted with caregiver spouses of
Cittamani Hospice Service clients who
died during 2005 and 2006.
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.
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.
There is now an established literature indicating increased mortality is associated with individuals who have experienced a significant bereavement.1 For the purpose of this article, the definition of bereavement by Stroebe et al2 will be used, which is, 'having recently lost a significant person through death'.
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