Closing support gaps in rural and regional NSW
- by Kate Bowman
- October 19, 2022
“Bereavement support for families and carers in rural Australian settings often fails to meet well-established and longstanding guidelines in key areas, subsequently causing undue mental distress for many individuals,” so says research recently published in Bereavement Journal of Grief and Responses to Death.
The paper “Why aren’t rural family caregivers receiving appropriate bereavement support in Australia? Practical considerations for palliative care settings” was written by Kyle O’Donohue, Mohammad Hamiduzzaman, and Arron S Veltre from Manning Base Hospital, Hunter New England Health and the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health.
The authors go on to acknowledge that despite bereavement support being recognised as one of the palliative care standards it is often not adequately delivered in rural settings. Failure to do so creates poorer health outcomes and increases the likelihood of complex bereavement and prolonged grief disorder.
The paper does identify factors that contribute to poorer bereavement care but it also makes recommendations and suggests key strategies to close the gaps without over-stretching thin resources. One of their suggestions is increased utilisation of community-based resources in psychosocial care. This is the perfect space for volunteers.
Training for palliative care volunteers should equip them with the skills for bereavement support. They are well placed to begin supporting clients, family, and carers before end of life, catching anticipatory grief. They can also be the first line of defense when following up with a family after a death, making phone calls and checking in with their clients.
While volunteers should never take the place of professional counselling, they can help mitigate distress by providing psychosocial support early on in the care journey, and are able to alert clinical staff to a client with more complex needs as required. Including volunteers in a monthly ‘walking group’ for the bereaved is an example of another way they can provide support.
Bereavement volunteers work best when they are well integrated into the multi-disciplinary palliative care team, and are well supported by a Volunteer Manager.
Click here to read the article in Bereavement, Journal of grief and response to death.
Citation: Hamiduzzaman , M. ., O’Donohue, K. ., & Veltre, A. (2022). Why aren’t rural family caregivers receiving appropriate bereavement support in Australia? Practical considerations for palliative care settings. Bereavement, 1. https://doi.org/10.54210/bj.2022.1079
- DECEMBER 7, 2023
- 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteer Services – December meeting & Christmas lunch
The role of the Network is to ensure best practice for NSW Managers of Pall...Read more
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