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Leigh

Leigh Donovan

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Queensland Health And Medicine > Mental Health
Health And Medicine > Community Care
The Dr Dorothea Sandars and Irene Lee Churchill Fellowship to identify and develop guidelines for best practice paediatric hospital bereavement care services - USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa
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Major Lessons Learned and Conclusions

  • A dominant theme in my interviews was the development of hospital-based bereavement programs in response to complaints from bereaved parents themselves. Parents whose child has been cared for in the health system and who has died, want and expect transitional care from health professionals they know and trust as they reintegrate into life following the death of their child.
  • From a community-based perspective, service providers acknowledge the ‘black hole’ that exists for those families who experience geographical, financial or other logistical or emotional barriers to accessing bereavement care in their local community. As a sector we need to consider sustainable and accessible alternatives to current models of support. This is particularly relevant when developing an equitable service response for bereaved families in Australia.
  • Of most interest was having the experience of grief normalised by all colleagues I met with. As professionals we are often encouraged to turn to published research literature for guidance. This literature can be driven by science and pathology. However, peer support, peer mentoring and companioning/walking alongside the bereaved appear to be the dominant and accepted models of hospital and community-based care in the paediatric sector.

Dissemination and Implementation

This report will be disseminated through paediatric bereavement care networks in Australia and internationally and used as a supporting document when advocating at a health policy level for the integration of bereavement care as core business in the paediatric health setting.

Keywords: Bereavement, paediatric, hospital, hospice, community

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