Dawn Smith: Hi! I am Dawn Smith from Kindred at Home. I am here to provide some insights into Hospice Care and the ways it helps patients and families through the bereavement process.
Everyone grieves in their own way; its a natural reaction to significant loss. Bereavement counseling is a compassionate service available to patients as well as their families and friends proceeding and following a death; in fact, its one of the key roles of Hospice Care.
When a patient is dealing with a life-limiting illness, the emotional consequences ripple out for all who know and love this person. The grief begins with the first prognosis and continues for the survivors long after the loved one has died. This is why the Hospice team continues to provide grief counseling and other support services to families for 13 months following the death of their loved one.
An interdisciplinary group of professionals provide a circle of care to meet the unique needs of the patient and all of those who love and care for the person. In addition to the medical director, attending physician, nurse and hospice aid, the social worker, spiritual care counselor and bereavement counselor play very important roles. These include assessing emotional, social, spiritual and financial needs; referrals to community resources, assisting with memorial arrangements, spiritual counseling and grief counseling.
While the patients comfort and symptom control are vital, the emotional and spiritual concerns are equally important. The focus becomes living with the illness while valuing and making good use of the remaining time as well as helping families deal with their loss; its about living, loving, and openly discussing feelings with trusted family members, friends and counselors.
Families who have experienced Kindred Hospice Care for their loved ones report that they felt more confident in their own abilities to provide care and they felt their loved ones had support to enjoy quality of life and dignity in spite of debilitating illness. Families develop the sense of unity, strength and even healing. They often express profound gratitude for the care provided.
Grief is natural even though it varies with each person, there are number of ways that bereavement counselors help by encouraging relaxation, art and music therapy, healthy eating, physical activity and social interactions. They are there to listen, they provide reassurance and validation for ones feelings, and they honor the wishes of patients to help them live their final months and weeks in comfort, peace and dignity which brings greater peace and comfort to everyone involved.