Bereavement referrals to a psychiatric service: an audit

Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 1995 Mar;4(1):17-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2354.1995.tb00048.x.


The majority of people who are bereaved will work through their grief with support from family and friends. Over 30%, however, may require professional support, and studies have shown that most people contact their General Practitioner and primary health-care team for counselling/support. Effective support and counselling can also be given by voluntary agencies. It was decided to audit the referrals made to a bereavement service for bereavement counselling to ascertain the level of support given prior to the referral and whether information had been given to the bereaved regarding the services available to them in the voluntary sector. Twelve referrals were received in the allotted time period, 10 of which were made within the first year of bereavement. Only one referral had been offered counselling by the primary health-care team and one other had been informed of voluntary bereavement support/counselling agencies. Two referrals had abnormal grief reactions requiring psychiatric intervention. Conclusions include raising the awareness of general practitioners and primary health-care teams of the normal grieving process, and increasing the provision of support for the bereaved. It is also suggested that the bereaved are made more aware of the services that voluntary agencies can provide.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bereavement*
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatry*
  • Referral and Consultation*