Hospice care extends far beyond the medical care of the patient. A number of other services that benefit both the patient themselves and their family and loved ones are available and part of a typical care plan. One of these is bereavement care, which is provided to loved ones for 13 months following the patient's death.
Grief and mourning is a natural part of this process, but often one that is difficult not only for the individual experiencing it, but also for those around them who want to help. Here are some thoughts on grief and mourning that might help you be of service to someone close to you who has recently experienced a loved one's death.
What you need to help someone who's grieving
It can be difficult to help a friend who is grieving for a number of reasons. You can't bring back their loved one. And the uncomfortableness of death makes it hard for many of us to find the right words or actions to bring relief. Additionally, everyone grieves and mourns differently. So what is right for one person may not be comforting to another. There are some common things that everyone needs when helping a mourning friend, however. That includes plenty of time so you can be available to them and not make them feel rushed or like an inconvenience. You'll also need patience, perserverance, flexibility, optimism, understanding, warmth, and of course, compassion. You do not have to always know the perfect thing to say, or the perfect thing to do. Just being present, not judging, and trying to identify with the mourner is enough.
Grief doesn't only begin after death
Many associate grief with the loss of a loved one, but for many, grief begins with the anticipation of loss. That can be as early as a terminal diagnosis is given as family begin to accept death as an inevitable outcome soon to occur. This grief combines not only the emotions that come with the loss of a family member, but also the physical and mental fatigue and general overwhelmed feeling that comes with caregiving. Understanding these finer details of grief can help you offer better support to those in need.
Keys to successful support of somone who's grieving
As mentioned, everyone grieves in different ways. Each situation will be unique, but each will share a need for these keys of support.
To offer support, you should be present. That means both physically present and mentally present. Put everything else on hold and put your phone away in order to support the needs of the mourner.
Be able to demonstrate that you care for the person greiving. That can be done in a variety of ways, and being able to demonstrate this using the connection the two of you share will be especially meaningful.
Be able to honor the journey through grief. This means not being judgmental and fully supporting the ways in which the individual chooses to grieve. That includes honoring and supporting family, cultural and religious traditions that may be involved in the grieving process.
Your ultimate goal should be to help maintain the physical health, and emotional stability of the individual grieving.
If you have questions about hospice care, the benefits it provides to both patients and their families, or end of life care in general, please contact us at Cura-HPC- 800-797-3839.