We all experience bereavement at some point, leaving many feeling vulnerable. However grief and loss are completely normal experiences, a part of life.

The hospice movement is one of the driving forces in highlighting the needs of bereaved people – supporting families and others facing bereavement is an important element of hospice care as part of its holistic approach to end of life care.

Hospices offer information and support to the family and friends of people who are cared for by the hospice - both before and after a death. Some hospices will work with people who have not had previous contact with a hospice while many work closely with schools to offer advice to teachers.

The level of bereavement care and its nature vary depending on the needs of the person who is bereaved and their previous experience of loss. Many people will use existing means of social support, such as friends or relatives. Other people may need:

  • information about reactions to bereavement or practical advice.
  • longer term bereavement support.
  • bereavement counselling.
  • practical information.

Hospice teams will assess what help is needed and respond as appropriate, as well as signposting to other relevant services or information. Hospices will often work with schools and other organisations also involved in supporting people who are bereaved.

Projects to help hospices

Hospice UK has supported projects to help hospices develop their bereavement services and continues to offer a Certificate and Advanced Certificate in Working in Childhood Bereavement.

Resource materials are also available:

The National Bereavement Alliance is an emerging group of organisations with a shared vision that all people have awareness of and access to support and services through their bereavement experience. Recognising one another’s contribution to this vision, the Alliance collaborates strategically to provide a collective voice representing the needs of bereaved people and those supporting them.

Resources from the Hospice led support service for people bereaved by Covid-19 project are available to download from our Bereavement Project Resources web page. These include presentations on how to bring a service online, self care, children and bereavement and grief and grieving in a pandemic.

  • Nov 27, 2018
    Helping people to remember - Memorialisation
    This booklet aims to encourage hospices, hospitals and care homes which are supporting people at the end of life and families into bereavement, to think about how both formal and informal opportunities to remember those who have died under their care can be part of the meaning-seeking and meaningtaking processes.
  • Guidance for bereavement needs assessment in palliative care (2nd ed)
    The aim of this publication is to support the assessment of need for bereavement care in adults’ palliative care services. It presents an assessment matrix and provides detailed guidance on the organisational aspects of bringing routine, systematic bereavement needs assessment procedures into everyday practice. Authors: Marilyn Relf, Linda Machin and Nikki Archer. (Published September 2010)

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