Bereavement care will help you identify strengths, difficulties, stressors, and coping skills that will help you adapt to a significant loss in your life.
Many people think that grief and bereavement are the same thing, but they really have different meanings.
- Grief is a normal reaction to a loss.
- Bereavement is the period after a loss during which you experience grief.
Yes, this can be confusing. What’s important to know is that loss is a natural part of living and all people will experience grief in response to loss. This is when bereavement care can be helpful to you.
How can bereavement care help?
A quality bereavement care program will help you understand how you are responding to loss and provide support to help you deal with your grief. Reactions that people experience can be physical, emotional, social, and spiritual in nature. Common emotional reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness, and despair. Physical reactions can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems, or illness. It’s important to remember that no two people will respond to a loss in exactly the same way.
A trained bereavement professional can assess how you are coping with grief and offer education and support. Most people feel strengthened, encouraged and supported when they learn about grief, understand how it affects them, identify coping strategies, and learn new methods to help themselves through the grief experience.
In cases where someone is struggling with complicated grief, a bereavement care professional can help identify the need for more comprehensive support.
How to find bereavement care
Community hospice programs are often excellent resources for those looking for bereavement care in their communities. While a hospice program’s main focus is on the patients and families under their care, in many cases they offer support to people in the community that may not have been recipients of hospice care services.
If a hospice’s bereavement program is unable to help you based on what your needs may be, they are often able to point you in the direction of other community resources that might be able to offer assistance.
Bereavement care under hospice
As part of the Medicare hospice benefit, family caregivers of a hospice patient – or those who are part of a person’s immediate inner circle – have access to bereavement care for 13 months following the death of the patient.
Services can range from support groups, memorial services, informational and educational resources, counseling, and referrals to appropriate therapeutic and community resources. The needs of each person receiving bereavement support can vary depending on their situation. Hospice bereavement programs facilitate healthy grieving and aim to prevent grief-related health and mental health problems.