Utilization of Hospice Bereavement Support by At-Risk Family Members

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Abstract

Approximately 10% of the bereaved are at risk of bereavement-related mental health disorders. Hospices' bereavement services could potentially address needs of many at risk, but little is known about their service use. We analyzed data from 6160 bereaved family members of hospice patients. Risk of mental health problems was identified by hospice providers postloss. Of those characterized as “at-risk,” 52% used services compared to 18% of the “low risk.” Factors associated with service use among at-risk were female gender and younger age of death. Those who lost a child used services less than other bereaved. Although hospices appear to be skilled at identifying and providing bereavement services to the at-risk, services do not reach almost half. Results suggest the need to improve care access, especially among men and those losing a child.

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