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Development of ‘use-cases’ for a digital palliative care bereavement service.

Project: Research


Research question
What ‘event steps’ are needed to design a digital support service for bereaved people?

To develop ‘use-cases’ to describe the ‘event steps’ needed to design a digital service to provide three tiers of bereavement support, based on recommendations of the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).

How this work will be done
We will review available national relevant policies and procedures for palliative care bereavement services. We will use the data from our recent research study (Stanley et al 2021. How can technology be used to support communication in palliative care beyond the COVID-19 pandemic? – not yet published) and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, to inform the development of a palliative care bereavement ‘case study’, which will facilitate the development of ‘use-cases’. These ‘use-cases’ are the pre-requisite to designing a digital bereavement service.

How we will develop a future NIHR application
• We will develop closer working partnerships with other Higher Education Institutions (University of Liverpool, Lancaster University, Cardiff University, Bristol University, Harvard University) and healthcare and voluntary organisations (NHS, Marie Curie and other hospices) across disciplines (palliative care, computer science, research), which will improve capacity to develop a NIHR protocol.
• We will develop an NIHR funding application to design, implement and test the digital bereavement service.

Layperson's description

Grief, bereavement and the need for bereavement services:
Grief is a natural process, in which many people will cope with help from their friends and family. However, many people will need professional help. People who are bereaved are more likely to have problems with their mental health and wellbeing. These problems can affect many people in society. Therefore, good bereavement care is important to ensure that people get the support they need when they are grieving.

Challenges facing bereavement services:
There are many challenges to delivering bereavement care, these include:

• There is not enough resources to meet current demand.
• Some people may not easily receive support because they live in an area where there are few services.
• Some people struggle to find time to receive support during working hours due to their other commitments.
• The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand and has made it difficult for people to access services.
• Palliative care need is increasing and is expected to increase by 42% in 2040, this will also increase need for bereavement support.

Can digital bereavement services help more people receive support?
It is possible technology can be used to help more people to access bereavement support. However, it is important we carefully design these systems so they work properly.

In this project we will create the ‘blueprint’ needed to design a new digital bereavement service:
In this study we will interview staff and caregivers about bereavement support, to understand what a digital bereavement service should look like. We will use this information to design the ‘blueprint’ which is needed to design a new digital bereavement support service. In computer science this ‘blueprint’ is called a ‘use-case’. We will partner with computer developers to design ‘use-cases’ which we can then use to build a digital bereavement service. After this study we will do more research to test whether the new digital bereavement service is helping more people to get the support they need

Key findings

Awarded £17869.28 from Liverpool CCG Research Capability Funding (RCF) 2021/2022.
Short title'Use-cases’ for a digital palliative care bereavement service
Effective start/end date1/03/2231/08/22
  • Nwosu, Amarachukwu (Principal Investigator)
  • Chapman, Laura (Co-Investigator)
  • Stanley, Sarah (Principal Investigator)
  • Mason, Stephen (Co-Investigator)
  • Fayoumi, Amjad (Co-Investigator)