The National Good Grief Awareness Week takes place this month, and with approximately nine people affected by every death and 72% of people having had a bereavement in the last five years, conversations, and services around end of life are needed as much as ever.
Kingston and Richmond End of Life Care Steering Group is continuing its work focussing on improving the bereavement pathway in Kingston, with resources now being shared throughout south west London. This next stage of work builds on findings from the Community Engagement Report, commissioned by the ICS, and led by Healthwatch Kingston and Kingston Voluntary Action (KVA) earlier this year.
The report looked at the experiences of those who have used bereavement and support services recently, where gaps in those services may exist and how they could be developed to further support local people.
As work progresses, new resources, including information for bereaved people and the staff who work with them, have now been sent to GP surgeries. These list local and national services as well as signposting to Cruse’s advice line. Advice for GP staff helping them understand how they can support bereaved people with a compassionate response has also been developed and shared.
We know that staff want to support bereaved people with a compassionate and helpful response, but sometimes it can feel hard to know what is helpful to say. To support them, we have shared a Very Brief Advice framework, specifically designed for GP staff.”Kingston GP and Kingston and Richmond Place End of Life Care Clinical Lead, Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders
Kingston GP and Kingston and Richmond Place End of Life Care Clinical Lead, Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, explained: “We know that staff want to support bereaved people with a compassionate and helpful response, but sometimes it can feel hard to know what is helpful to say. To support them, we have shared a Very Brief Advice framework, specifically designed for GP staff. This encourages staff to acknowledge someone’s loss, ask what support they have already, advise what services and support is on offer and act by putting them in contact with the right people. It might sound simple, but all of this work adds up, making our bereavement pathway more robust.”
Other helpful bereavement guidance for residents has been gathered together by Kingston Council and added to a central drive. This includes key information for those who have suffered a loss and might not understand the next stages of the process or how they can access support. In addition, information and resources for services providing, or that need to arrange, the provision of end of life care have been added to the ICS website. This will support frontline staff and help them find information quickly to enable well planned end of life care and bereavement support.
Staff who work in a GP surgery team and have ideas about carrying out a bereavement improvement project are welcome to contact Dr Millington-Sanders directly for advice and support at [email protected].