skip to page content
Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

Health Services Research & Development

Go to the ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

How well are we caring for caregivers? Prevalence of grief-related symptoms and need for bereavement support among long-term care staff.

Rickerson EM, Somers C, Allen CM, Lewis B, Strumpf N, Casarett DJ. How well are we caring for caregivers? Prevalence of grief-related symptoms and need for bereavement support among long-term care staff. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2005 Sep 1; 30(3):227-33.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


To define the prevalence and correlates of grief-related symptoms among long-term care staff who care for patients near the end of life, a cross-sectional survey was conducted at six Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) organizations that provide long-term care in the home and in institutions. All clinical and non-clinical program staff were surveyed to examine the prevalence of 20 grief-related symptoms and assess current sources of bereavement support, as well as willingness to use additional sources of support. Surveys were completed by 203/236 staff (86%), who described a wide variety of symptoms they attributed to the death of one of their patients in the past month. Most staff (147/203; 72%) reported at least one symptom. Staff with more symptoms had experienced more patient deaths in the past month (Spearman rho = 0.20, P = 0.007), had worked for a longer time at a PACE organization (Spearman rho = 0.16, P = 0.031), and reported a closer and longer relationship with the last patient who died (Spearman rho = 0.32, P < 0.001; rho = 0.24, P = 0.001). Although staff identified several informal sources of bereavement support (mean 2.3 sources, range 0-6), almost all (n = 194; 96%) said they would use additional support services if they were offered. These community-based long-term care staff experience a variety of symptoms attributable to the deaths of their patients, and would welcome additional sources of bereavement support.

Questions about the HSR&D website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.