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Matching Response to Need: What Makes Social Networks Fit for Providing Bereavement Support

About the Course

The objectives of this study were to explore the goodness of fit between the bereaved peoples’ needs and the support offered by their social networks; to ascertain whether this support was experienced as helpful or unhelpful by bereaved people; and to explore both the types of social networks that offer effective support and the characteristics of the communities that encourage and nurture such networks. This study was based on qualitative interviews from twenty bereaved people, in Western Australia, interviewed in 2013. A framework analysis of these interviews was undertaken using a deductive approach based on the goodness of fit framework. Much of this support is provided informally in community settings by a range of people already involved in the everyday lives of those recently bereaved; and that support can be helpful or unhelpful depending on its amount, timing, function and structure. Improving the fit between the bereaved person’s needs and the support offered may thus involve identifying and enhancing the caring capacity of existing networks. An important strategy for achieving this is to train community members in mapping and developing these naturally occurring networks. Some such networks will include relationships of long standing, others may be circles of care formed during a period of caring. Peer support bereavement networks develop from these existing networks and may also recruit new members who were not part of the caring circle. The findings endorse social models of bereavement care that fit within a public health approach rather than relying solely on professional care. As exemplified by Compassionate Communities policies and practices, establishing collaboration between community networks and professional services is vital for effective and sustainable bereavement care.

This course is based on the reading-based online article, Matching Response to Need: What Makes Social Networks Fit for Providing Bereavement Support created by Samar M. Aoun, Ph.D., et al. in 2019.

Publication Date:

PLoS ONE 14(3):e0213367. Mar 2019

Course Material Authors

Course Material Authors authored the material only, and were not involved in creating this CE course. They are identified here for your own evaluation of the relevancy of the material this course is based on.

Samar M. Aoun, Ph.D.

Dr. Aoun is Professor of Palliative Care in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Sciences with Honours from Leeds University, UK, a Master of Public Health from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and a PhD in Medical Demography from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK. She has previously held the positions of Professor of Palliative Care, Director of the WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care, and Associate Dean of Research at Curtin University. Dr. Aoun is a palliative care researcher with a public health approach and a focus on under-served population groups such as people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), dementia, terminally ill people who live alone and family caregivers before and after bereavement. She advocates strongly for a person-centered health and social care. Her research programs on supporting family caregivers at end of life and the public health approach to bereavement care have informed policy and practice at the national and international levels. Dr. Aoun is a member of the editorial advisory board of Palliative Medicine journal, and a member of an expert advisory group for the development of best practice guidelines in bereavement care in Europe.

Lauren J. Breen, Ph.D.

Dr. Breen is a Professor of Psychology at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Her Ph.D. thesis on bereavement won the 2007 Australian Psychological Society’s Psychology of Relationships Interest Group Thesis Award. She is a Registered Psychologist, a Fellow of The Australian Psychological Society, and an Assessor for the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council. Dr. Breen is a Board Member for the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement and Lionheart Camp for Kids. In collaboration with Road Trauma Support WA and Sirens of Silence, she developed workshops for emergency services personnel on grief, trauma, and self-care. Dr. Breen is the Managing Editor of Death Studies, a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement, and a member of the International Work Group on Death, Dying and Bereavement, and the Association for Death Education and Counseling.

Bruce Rumbold, Ph.D.

Dr. Rumbold is an Adjunct Professor of Palliative Care in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University in Australia. He holds postgraduate qualifications in physics, pastoral care and health social science, and has published in all three fields. Dr. Rumbold's longstanding interest in palliative care began with doctoral work in England in the mid-seventies, and has continued throughout palliative care's period of development in Australia. The health promoting model developed by the La Trobe University Palliative Care Unit, with its emphasis on social care, is particularly congenial to his interests in community development, pastoral care, and spirituality.

Course Creator

Elizabeth Mosco, Ph.D., PMH-C, CPLC
Elizabeth Mosco, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Reno, NV. She opened a private practice after 10 years of conducting home-based assessment and therapy with the VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System. Dr. Mosco’s clinical interests include maternal mental health, older adults, and third wave cognitive behavioral therapies.

Recommended For:

Counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and social workers. This course is appropriate for all levels of knowledge.

Course Objectives:

After taking this course, you should be able to:

  1. Summarize the research to date regarding social support in bereavement care.
  2. Describe the Compassionate Communities approach to bereavement care.
  3. List at least 3 findings from the current study regarding social support and bereavement care.
  4. Summarize the findings regarding the helpfulness of mental health professionals in bereavement care.

Disclosure to Learners

Disclosure of Relevant Financial Relationships

CE Learning Systems adheres to the ACCME's Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CE activity – including faculty, planners, reviewers, or others ― are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (formerly known as commercial interests).

The following relevant financial relationships have been disclosed by this activity's planners, faculty, and the reviewer:

Planners and Reviewers

The planners of this activity have reported that they have no relevant financial relationships.

Commercial support

There is no commercial support for this distance-learning course.

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Course Number 103242
1.25 CE credit hour
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  • Reading-Based Online
Exam Fee $7.46
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