Supporting families when a parent has died

About the project

Title: Supporting families when a parent has died
Yorkshire Cancer Research
Time frame: Recruitment and analysis complete. PhD thesis to be completed April 2023.
Study PI/Co-I /Collaborators: Alex Wray is the principal investigator, along with her supervisory team, Dr Jason Boland, Professor Fliss Murtagh, and Dr Clare Whitfield

The aim of this study is to explore how children and families can best support each other following the death of a parent and to understand how those around them can offer a supportive response.

Eleven children aged 10 to 18 and seventeen parents who have experienced a parental death participated in in-depth interviews to explore their experiences and perspectives of support. A systematic review has been undertaken to identify and synthesise previously published evidence of support experiences for children and surviving parents following parental death. Findings from the interviews and review will be synthesised, working with families and professionals to develop a model and resources describing a supportive response for bereaved children and families.

About the principal investigator - Alex Wray

I have worked as a nurse in end of life care for most of my career. I have worked in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), palliative care and oncology wards and as an organ donation nurse.

During the pandemic I returned to ICU and developed and managed a family support service. I currently work in the hospital bereavement support team, and I chair the Hull Child Bereavement Advisory Group.

I’m passionate about improving bereavement support. This study has been designed with the help of bereaved children and families and we hope that our findings can improve support for families in the future.

Details of bereavement support

Bereavement support can be found at: