Comforting Care offers bereavement support to loved ones and family members of hospice patients who have passed away.
Grieving A Loved One
Grief is a process. A natural reaction to deep loss. For those with a loved one receiving hospice care, grieving begins before death and continues after the loss.
The grieving process is physically and emotionally draining. Grief counseling, as part of bereavement support, can help family members cope with their feelings.
What Is Anticipatory Grief?
Family members of hospice patients begin the grieving process with anticipatory grief, which refers to grieving that starts before the loss of a loved one. Anticipatory grief involves imagining life without the loved one, taking the first steps to process the loss, and saying the final “I love you.”
For family members, seeing their loved one in hospice care and knowing that they will soon pass away can cause unexpected emotions. In this time, it’s normal to feel guilt, fear, anger, or even relief.
It can be difficult to balance daily responsibilities with the expectation of a future without a loved one. However, seeing a loved one comforted in hospice may make family members hopeful. They may be grateful for the time they have to spend together. Or, on the other hand, family members may wish their loved one could pass away soon so that they could both rest. Sorrow could feel like a heavy weight. In these moments, it’s important to understand that there’s no single right way to grieve.
The Benefits Of Grief Support Groups
Grief support groups offer family members a deeper understanding of pain and the grieving process. Immediately after a loss, individuals may struggle to verbalize their grief in front of family or friends. Support groups can be a healthy and safe outlet for individuals to express their feelings — openly and honestly.
Hospice grief groups also offer:
Coping suggestions. During a grief group meeting, individuals will learn about various coping methods from others dealing with grief. They may learn about an idea that helps them get through the grieving process.
Validation. It’s important to know that grieving doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. Nor should grieving cause a person to think they are losing their mind. Attending hospice grief group sessions validates unfamiliar emotions and provides opportunities to hear from others who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
A break. Regularly attending grief support group sessions provides a much-needed break from the boredom and loneliness that often accompanies loss. In a grief support group, individuals will be free to express their true emotions and also to take a break from pretending like they’re doing okay.
Our Bereavement Support Services
We offer bereavement support from the day of hospice admission up to 13 months after the passing of the patient. Bereavement services include:
- Identifying family members who need bereavement support
- Assessing family strengths, bereavement risk, and grief-related concerns and needs
- Providing basic grief information and support through:
- Support groups
- Written materials (letters, cards, and booklets)
- Individual contacts (home visits and monthly phone calls)
- Commemorative activities
- Spiritual support
- Empowering families to overcome grief by identifying areas of strength
- Referring families to services and resources for mental health, complex grief, or other needs