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New research investigates services for bereaved families

Person sitting while using laptop computer and green stethoscope near

The Open University (OU) has embarked on a groundbreaking study examining the impact of the Medical Examiners Service on families coping with loss.

Introduced in January 2021, the Medical Examiner Service comprises qualified doctors who operate independently from the care providers involved in a patient’s treatment. Their critical role involves meticulously reviewing the medical records of the deceased and determining the cause of death. Additionally, this service offers a vital avenue for families to seek answers regarding the care their loved ones receive from healthcare providers.

Dr Kerry Jones, Senior Lecturer in End-of-Life Care at the OU and co-chair of the university’s Carer’s Research Group, spearheads this research. She collaborates with Dr Sharon Mallon, Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Wellbeing at Staffordshire University and a former academic at OU.

Dr Jones emphasised the significance of understanding how the service communicates with grieving families after the loss of a loved one. “By delving into this aspect,” she explains, “we can actively shape the service’s implementation across England and Wales.”

Families supported by the Medical Examiner Service are encouraged to participate in the study. Dr Jones assures them that the researchers, well-versed in discussing bereavement, will provide unwavering support throughout their involvement.

For those navigating bereavement, there are organisations that are here to help:

  1. Provides bereavement support, advice, and guidance to help you find the most fitting support during this challenging time.
  2. CRUSE Bereavement Care: Offers comprehensive bereavement support across the UK.
  3. Shout 85258: A free text service for immediate mental health support.

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