Identifying vulnerability in grief

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Posted on 12 June 2013

With funding from the North Staffordshire Medical Institute, researchers at Keele have carried out work to establish the reliability of the Adult Attitude to Grief scale (AAG), in identifying those most vulnerable in grief. This is an extension of the existing practice use of the AAG for profiling the grief of individual clients/patients.

A conference at Keele Hall, with members of the practice organisations who participated in the research and other practitioners from the fields of health and social care, as well as clinical commissioners explored the significance of the AAG and its innovative use in calculating vulnerability not only in bereavement but potentially in broader areas of loss experience such as dementia and chronic illness.  Delegates discussed the timeliness of the development in the light of the enormous demographic shift currently underway which, according to the House of Lords report – 'Ready for Ageing?' - means that England will see a 51% rise in those aged 65+ and a 101% increase in those aged 85+ from 2010 to 2030. This increase will have a profound impact on a wide range of public services and requires radical changes to the way that health and social care is delivered, and vulnerability is understood.  In particular, targeting resources to those most in need will become an ever-increasing priority and challenge for service providers and funders.

Reflecting the importance of inter-disciplinary perspectives in developing innovative assessment protocols and interventions in health and social care, the research team itself spanned both the Faculty of Health and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Dr Linda Machin, is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Research Institute for Social Sciences, and Professor Julius Sim and Dr Bernadette Bartlam are members of the Research Institute for Primary Care and Health Sciences and the Centre for Social Gerontology.  Discussants at the conference were Dr Liz Rolls, who has made a significant contribution in the field of bereavement research, and Dr James Macdonald, Director of Clinical Training at CORE, a leader in the field of routine outcome measurement in mental health psychological therapies.