Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC)

Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration


The Melbourne Ageing Research Collaboration (MARC) is a unique collaboration of health, research, aged care and advocacy organisations working together to improve the lives of older people.

Our vision is that older people received the best possible care and support through services, programs and policies which support health and optimal quality of life.

Image of the logos of all MARC partners

Problem

Grief is a common experience after loss. Older adults are likely to encounter the loss of a loved one more often than other age groups. Acute grief normally evolves over time into integrated grief but for some, grief may be prolonged, severe and impairing. Prolonged grief can be associated with higher rates of depression and suicidal thoughts. It is, therefore, pivotal to identify and support individuals at risk of developing prolonged grief. There is evidence that GPs do not always have sufficient time, skills and resources to offer such support. In addition, older people may be reluctant to discuss their mental health and grief with their family, GP or other care staff. Grief in older people may, consequently, go undetected and untreated. This project seeks to examine the effects of grief in older people on healthcare use from the perspective of (a) the older bereaved person who is experiencing grief and (b) GPs who are treating grieving older people. 

Design

  1. A mixed-methods approach using quantitative questionnaires and qualitative interviews with older people who are experiencing grief and additional interviews with GPs and practice nurses who are treating older grieving people.
  2. Identify how older people are coping with grief, which bereavement support services they use (if any) and how GPs and practice nurses respond to grief in older people.
  3. Poetic narrative analysis as additional analysis and data dissemination method

Publications

Katrin Gerber, Bianca Brijnath, Kayla Lock, Christina Bryant, Danny Hills, Larissa Hjorth, ‘Unprepared for the depth of my feelings’ - Capturing grief in older people through research poetry, Age and Ageing, Volume 51, Issue 3, March 2022, afac030, DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afac030

Access via: https://academic.oup.com/ageing/article/doi/10.1093/ageing/afac030/6547546?guestAccessKey=d65b52e9-bcce-42cf-9267-8b24a8813fb8

Katrin Gerber & Eleanor Campbell (2022) Grief support for older Australians is lacking. Aged Care Insite Podcast.

Access via: https://www.agedcareinsite.com.au/2022/02/grief-support-for-older-australians-is-lacking/

 

Collaborators

NARI, RMIT, Department of Health and Human and Services, Federation University, Deakin University, University of Melbourne, Monash University, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network, Carers Victoria.

Project Summary

Grief Resource Sheet