Bereaved family support is one of the important tasks in the palliative care setting. It is recently reported that the bereaved family support system is being developed in palliative care facilities in Japan. In this study, a survey on bereaved family support was performed to grasp nationwide trends as the first step in establishment of bereaved family support system as a part of end-of-life care.
Among 138 palliative care facilities approved as of April 2008, 59 facilities that had been approved 2 or more years previously and had 20 or more beds were randomly selected. The survey was conducted in October 2008, by sending questionnaires by mail. The questionnaires consisted of 12 items, and prepared for chief nurses to ask policy of the whole facility and for nurses to ask individual opinions. Ethical consideration: The consent was regarded to be obtained when the questionnaires were returned.
Chief nurses in 30 facilities returned their questionnaire, and 96.7% of them answered “Yes” to the question “Is bereaved family support necessary?”, and 83.3% to “Are there some bereaved family supports determined in the ward?” Concerning their satisfaction levels for bereaved family support, 30% and 26.7% of answers were “relatively insufficient” and “sufficient for some matters and insufficient for other matters”, respectively. Furthermore, 93.3% felt “Involvement of specialists in bereaved family support is necessary”, and 83.0% “Involvement of nurses as specialists for bereaved family support is necessary”. 440 nurses returned their questionnaire, and 96.8% of them answered “Yes” to the question “Is bereaved family support necessary?”, and 70.5% to “Personally, do you give bereaved family support?” Concerning their satisfaction levels for bereaved family support, 60.9% and 12.3% of answers were “sufficient for some matters and insufficient for other matters” and “relatively insufficient”, respectively.
The results of our survey in Japan indicated that both chief nurses and staff felt the necessity of bereaved family support. Since establishments of a framework and a system at the facility side were the issues of bereaved family support, it might be necessary to investigate the conditions required for the system formulation.
Clinical trial identification
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.