Experiences of participation in bereavement groups from significant others' perspectives: A qualitative study
Background: When death ends a life, the impact of caring for person who suffered a period of illness or disease continues for significant others who are left to grieve. They should be offered support to avoid complicated grief. This can be provided in different ways and individually or in groups. This study aims to describe significant others' experiences of participation in bereavement groups. Methods: Ten bereavement groups that each met five times offered support for the significant others
... ignificant others of deceased loved ones who had been cared for by a palliative-care team. After the five meetings, the grieving members (n=46) completed written comments about the role of the groups; they also commented one year after participating (n=39). Comments were analyzed with qualitative content analysis with a directed approach using the theory of a good death according to the 6S's: self-image, self-determination, social relationships, symptom control, synthesis and summation, and surrender. Results: Bereavement groups were found to be a source for alleviating grief for some significant others, but not all experienced relief. Moreover, grief was found to persist during participation. Another finding involved the impact of the role of the palliative home-care team on bereavement support. To evaluate the experience of participating in a bereavement group, the use the 6S's as a model was a strength of the analysis. Bereavement groups could enhance the self and offer relief from grief. Participation was described as social relationships that offered a sense of coherence and understanding in grief. The effects of participation were more meaningful close to the loss and could lose efficacy over time. Bereavement support provided before a loved one's death was seen as valuable.Conclusion: Overall, the bereavement groups eased the grief of significant others close to the death of their loved one. However, moving forward, several of the significant others were not sure that their participation eased their grief. To identify persons who may remain in a state of complicated grief, a routine of planned contacts with the bereaved should begin before death and be followed up later than six months after the death of a loved one.