The passing of a loved one is a devastating loss for friends and families. After watching a loved one leave hospice care, many family members experience bereavement-related mental health struggles, such as depression or anxiety. A parent’s death in hospice or home care also has a serious impact on their adult children.
To help families cope with grief, Divine Grace Hospice provides bereavement support that begins when patients are admitted into hospice care and continues after their death for a set period of time.
What is Bereavement Care?
Bereavement care refers to the services received by families after the death of a loved one in hospice. The exact type of care that is provided can vary depending on the family’s needs, but is centered on helping families go through the grieving process in a healthy manner.
Bereavement care is provided for a set amount of time after a loved one has passed away. Hospice providers also conduct initial bereavement risk assessments before a patient has passed away to identify any social, spiritual, or cultural factors that will influence the family’s approach to grieving. This assessment also helps hospice providers determine which services and type of support to offer families before and after the patient’s passing.
Helping Families Navigate Unfamiliar Territory
Regardless of how long a patient has been ill, the loss of a loved one is always extremely difficult for families to process. It isn’t possible to predict an individual’s response to the passing of a loved one, but family members often experience disrupted routines, difficulty holding onto old beliefs about mortality, overwhelming feelings of loss, and difficulty settling affairs.
Hospice bereavement services can help families walk the journey from initial impact of loss, to building effective coping strategies.
Hospice bereavement care may include:
- Commemorative activities
- Invitations to support groups
- Identifying family members who need bereavement care
- Routine visits from trained grief counselors or volunteers
- Referrals to mental health professionals to help process grief
- Individual contacts, such as home visits and routine phone calls
- Written materials offering basic grief information and support
- Identifying areas that need support
- Identifying strengths
- Identifying individuals experiencing complex grief and referring them to services
It’s critical that hospice bereavement services are provided in the family’s home. The loss of a loved one can make a family feel like their life has been turned upside down. Meeting families in the familiar environment of the home helps reduce stress and increases their receptiveness to bereavement care.
Continuing The Care Journey
Hospice care doesn’t end once the family member has passed away. Bereavement services are offered on a holistic level to treat the entire person and to ensure the individual has the tools they need to excel in social and familial settings.
From the patient’s very first day in hospice, to their final contact with family members and months after the loss, hospice bereavement care is a process that honors the interconnected nature of human experience and helps family members discover their own path to closure.
Divine Grace Hospice offers bereavement care and is committed to supporting families the entire way.