A new report that aims to improve the support available for people going through a bereavement has been published.
The Bereavement Services and Support in Kingston – Community Engagement Report, commissioned by South West London ICS, was carried out by Healthwatch Kingston and Kingston Voluntary Action (KVA) and looks at the experiences of those who have used bereavement and support services recently, where gaps in those services may exist and how they can be developed to further support local people.
The report also has a particular focus on what it is that matters most to those that are grieving the loss of a loved one, and how this interconnects with their culture and faith, as well as if there are any language barriers or specific needs.
Suggestions range from ensuring information is provided in a range of languages, to an online portal where sources of information are brought together to make it more accessible, to the development of special resource for young people that can be used in schools, as well as for those with learning disabilities. A rapid burial protocol is also being developed thanks to people sharing their experiences around the challenges this can present.
This piece of work is vital in establishing how we can make sure that everyone in our local community is supported at a time when they are vulnerable and need it most”
Kingston GP, Dr Catherine Millington-Sanders, is the Kingston and Richmond Place End Of Life Care Clinical Lead, and has been involved with the work from the beginning. She explained: “This piece of work is vital in establishing how we can make sure that everyone in our local community is supported at a time when they are vulnerable and need it most.
“The report has shown where improvements can be made, such as for people who require a rapid burial and for those that culturally approach death in many different ways, so information and support need to be tailored appropriately.
“Now we have a fuller picture we can start working out how we can better serve our local people.”
Candy Dunne, from Healthwatch Kingston, said: “This has been a brilliantly collaborative piece of work, where we have had a unique opportunity to look closely at where there are gaps in bereavement services and support, across the NHS, the local authority and the charity and voluntary sectors.”
Sanja Djeric-Kane, CEO of Kingston Voluntary Action, added: “Alongside Healthwatch Kingston we engaged with local people, running focus groups with seldom heard communities and surveys which front line service providers and community organisations helped us share with people to see what their experiences around bereavement are. We paid particular attention to faith, belief, and philosophy groups as it was in these areas, we predicted, that some work needed to be done.”
The report will now be shared across South West London, so other boroughs can assess the recommendations and see where gaps in support and services in that area may exist.
Thanks to the finding of the report, Connected Kingston has mapped local services on their website, helping residents to find the information they need when someone close to them dies.