Recently we have been looking at ways to improve our bereavement care. Currently we call families a few days after their loved ones have passed away and again 6 weeks later. We find that these calls allow us a chance to gauge if anybody needs more support and it gives families a chance to ask questions and feel supported. We recognised that there was a need for us to provide more practical support and we have now introduced a bereavement coffee evening and held the second of these 17th April.
Families are invited to the bereavement coffee evenings during the 6 week follow up call and can attend up to three of these depending on need. The evenings give everyone a chance to meet and share how they are coping. We have found over the past two meetings that there is time for group discussion as well as one to one. There is no pressure on anyone to speak and for some, being part of the group and just listening is enough to help them through.
The people attending these evenings have been a diverse group, with each at a different stage in the grieving process and utilising varying coping mechanisms. It has been really good that those that are coping well have still wanted to attend the evenings and in turn have been able to support those that are finding it harder. We are hoping to introduce people from the Guernsey Bereavement Service to later meetings, which should serve to make the transition, for some to this service smoother and also provide another perspective to the collective group.