Providing psychosocial and bereavement support to family caregivers is an important mission of palliative care. However, we lack robust evidence to evaluate the health consequences of bereavement. Our on-going research aims to evaluate the effect of spousal loss on health outcomes and mortality among older adults. To do so, we take advantage of the large population and healthcare registers available in Sweden. This enables us to follow a cohort of nearly 43,000 older adults from 1 year before until 3 years after the death of their spouse, and to compare them to an equal number of people who do not experience spousal loss.
Our findings confirm that bereavement has a significant and rapid impact on both fatal and non-fatal health outcomes among surviving spouses. The risk of adverse event increases already during the 6-month period before spousal loss. This demonstrates the need for appropriate support of older adults caring for a spouse near the end of life.
Lucas Morin is a PhD student at the Aging Research Center of Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm (Sweden). A scholar in pharmacoepidemiology, his research is mainly focused on older adults and end-of-life care. Before joining Karolinska Institutet, Lucas was the director of the French National Observatory on End-of-Life Care in Paris, France.
About the series
This event is FREE TO ATTEND - no need to register!
CPD (1 credit) Royal College of Physicians
The series aim is to optimise opportunities for local, national and international networking within palliative care and rehabilitation. We facilitate seminars to assist in improving practice, education and policy, and the integration of research and clinical endeavours.