May 2016 | Wesley Hospice

Grief After the Loss of a Loved One

Losing someone close to you is never easy, whether it is your family member, close friend, or pet. Sometimes you fill yourself with regrets of what you could have said and done with that person. There is no life to live with should have, could have, or would have’s.

The death of someone does not mean you have also died. You must live for yourself and your living family/friends. Continue living for that person, telling their story and sharing the mark they have left on your life.

Do not pack up all of their belongings and force yourself to move on. Losing my father was very tough, but seeing my daughter use his harmonicas and guitar that he left behind has somehow put my heart at ease. It seems as if his legacy lives on, and I get to see a little of him every time I hear them.

Signs that occur when one is grieving include sadness, anger, denial, and depression. Below are a few ways to cope with losing someone dear to you. Try them out with an open mind and light heart.

  1. Write down what you wish you could have said or done with that person. Tie it to a balloon and send it off to them. By doing this, it will make you feel that you have tied up those loose ends. (Also try writing them a letter.)
  2. Share your memories with someone; it is always an amazing feeling to get feedback from others and also a good shoulder to lean on when times get a little tough. You are not the only person who has been through this. Confide in someone.
  3. Find yourself. What is your purpose here on earth?
  4. Try out things you were once fearful of. Live on.
  5. Find a new hobby, such as painting, blogging, baking or even a dance class. This will give you the opportunity to channel your focus and energy on something new.
  6. DANCE! Like no one is watching. Celebrate the life of your lost one.
  7. It is okay, but make sure you end with a smile because you had the opportunity to spend time with that person.
  8. Meditation can help you find peace with your loss. Sitting in a room with a candle lit and smooth meditation music causes calmness around you.

If you remain depressed and down for an extended period of time, it could be helpful to meet with a psychologist — a professional, not just a friend. Professionals will not judge you and are trained to help you handle guilt, fear, and depression associated with the death of someone close.

What is grief? Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions.


Selecting A Quality Hospice

Hospice is designed to help ease the fears of families with a loved one facing a life-threatening illness.

The focus of hospice is on comfort, not curing, and in most cases, care is provided in the patient’s home. Hospice care can also be provided in freestanding hospice care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Hospice services are available to patients of any age, religion, race, or illness.

Typically, a family member serves as the primary caregiver and, when appropriate, helps make decisions for the terminally ill individual. Members of the hospice staff make regular visits to assess the patient and provide additional care or other services. Hospice staff members are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient’s individual needs for pain management and symptom control. The team usually consists of the following:

  • The patient receiving the care
  • The patient’s family/caregiver
  • The patient’s hospice physician and attending physician
  • Nurse Case Manager
  • State Tested Nursing Aides
  • Social worker
  • Counselors and Spiritual Caregivers
  • Trained volunteers
  • Other professionals, such as speech, physical and occupational therapists, as needed

There are a number of factors you may want to ask about when deciding on a hospice program:

Accreditation

Find out if the agency is accredited and licensed. A nationally recognized group, such as the Joint Commission, is an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates and accredits health care organizations and programs.

Certification

Is the hospice program certified by Medicare? Medicare-certified programs are required to meet at least minimum requirements for patient care and management.

Licensure

If your state requires it, is the program licensed? You can check with your state’s health department to find out.

Consumer information

Does the agency have written statements outlining services, eligibility rules, cost and payment procedures, employee job descriptions, and malpractice and liability insurance?

References

How many years has the agency been serving your community? Can the agency provide references from professionals – such as a hospital or community social workers – who have used this agency? Agencies should have no problem providing these.

Care plan

Does the agency create a care plan for each new patient? Is the plan carefully and professionally developed with input from you and your family? Is the care plan written out and given to everyone involved? Check to see if it lists specific duties, work hours/days, and the name and number of the person in charge of your care. Will the care plan be updated as your needs change?

Services

How quickly can the hospice start services? Does the hospice offer specialized services such as rehabilitation therapist, pharmacists, dietitians, or family counselors when these could improve your comfort? If needed, does the hospice provide medical equipment or other items that might improve your quality of life?

The staff at Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare are available to answers all your questions about services and staff involved in the care of you and your loved ones. Call Kenya George at 614-451-6700 today to learn about hospice services offered at Hospices Services at Methodist ElderCare.