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Bereavement support standards and bereavement care pathway for quality palliative care

  • Peter Hudson (a1) (a2) (a3), Chris Hall (a4), Alison Boughey (a5) and Audrey Roulston (a6)



Provision of bereavement support is an essential component of palliative care service delivery. While bereavement support is integral to palliative care, it is typically insufficiently resourced, under-researched, and not systematically applied. Our aim was to develop bereavement standards to assist palliative care services to provide targeted support to family caregivers.


We employed a multiple-methods design for our study, which included: (1) a literature review, (2) a survey of palliative care service providers in Australia, (3) interviews with national (Australian) and international experts, (4) key stakeholder workshops, and (5) a modified Delphi-type survey.


A total of 10 standards were developed along with a pragmatic care pathway to assist palliative care services with implementation of the standards.

Significance of results:

The bereavement standards and care pathway constitute a key initiative in the evolution of bereavement support provided by palliative care services. Future endeavors should refine and examine the impact of these standards. Additional research is required to enhance systematic approaches to quality bereavement care.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Peter Hudson, Centre for Palliative Care, St. Vincent's Hospital, P.O. Box 2900, Melbourne, Australia. E-mail:


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