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10 Years On: Evaluation of a Paediatric Palliative Care Bereavement Service

Oral Presentation

October 14th 2022 at 10:30am

Institution: Queensland Children's Hospital - Queensland, Australia

A child’s death is a devastating event for families, with strong evidence highlighting support is required to navigate this loss. Bereavement care is considered a moral obligation of paediatric hospitals and offers significant and beneficial resources for families dealing with their child’s loss.
This observational, cross-sectional study aimed to evaluate a Bereavement Support Program at a major Australian metropolitan hospital from both healthcare provider and bereaved parent perspectives.
The Bereavement Support Program (BSP) was established in 2009 as an arm of the Children’s Health Queensland, Paediatric Palliative Care Service. Bereaved families known to the service were invited to the study and feedback sought about service components they had accessed or received and about the impact for their grief experience of each component using a 100 point sliding scale. Free text comments were throughout the survey for respondents to provide further information.
Overall, n=70 bereaved parents commenced the survey, n=63 completed demographic questions and provided detailed comments only, and n=60 completed the survey questions with n=39 (65%) providing additional detailed comments. Demographic and sliding scale findings are presented, with qualitative responses included to provide insight. Most respondents found interactions and services provided by the BSP helpful and had a positive impact on their grief.  However, there were a considerable number of respondents who were unaware of some service components and identified barriers to service access.
A key reflection is that an evaluation of this vital service took over a decade to be undertaken and was only made possible with the allocation of a QUT Research Student.  This highlights the current gap between needs in paediatric palliative care services and the resources at hand.  Now two years on from the student position and a working palliative care researcher herself, the presenter will reflect on her unique experience in evaluating this service.


  • Ms Norah Elvidge

    Registered Nurse - Queensland University of Technology

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