Background: Hospital-based support for bereaved parents is regarded as best practice. Little is known about parental perceptions or programmatic potential of online grief support. Objectives: To learn from bereaved parent participants' experiences with an online support group to include perceptions of technology acceptance and group communication dynamics. Design: Descriptive study reporting on an eight-week online bereavement support group offered during summer 2020. Subjects and Setting: Inclusive of six bereaved parent participants in the Midwestern United States. Measurements: Post-intervention survey consisting of 49-items with the Technology Acceptance Model and Other Communicated Perspective-Taking Ability instruments embedded. Results: Five bereaved mothers and one father (mean age 32 years) residing an average 126 miles from hospital participated in an online support group in a timeframe seven months to one year from the death of their child. Intensity of grief emotion (5/6 parents) and physical distance (4/6 parents) were notable barriers to in-person visits to the hospital, where bereavement support was to be offered. Parents uniformly reported feeling benefit from the program and satisfaction with the program. Respondents self-reported gaining improved communication (4/6 parents), coping (3/6 parents), peer support (3/6 parents), education (3/6 parents), and emotional expression (3/6 parents). Mean scores on the technology acceptance and communication experiences scales were 4.7/5. The virtual format was an acceptable modality with perceived supportive interpersonal communication dynamics. Conclusion: Pediatric palliative care teams may consider the offering of online bereavement support groups. Further research is warranted on the impact and outcomes of online bereavement support groups for bereaved parents.
- pediatric palliative care
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine