Bereavement Professional

  • 1.  Staff Personal Loss

    Posted 12-15-2014 11:43 AM

    What, if anything, do your agencies do to provide support to staff who have experienced personal losses (rather than professional losses/patients)? 


  • 2.  RE: Staff Personal Loss

    Posted 12-16-2014 10:41 AM

    Within the Ministry Home Care system, supervisors and associates may remind staff   of resources available to them. EAP is an available, and within hospice, trained bereavement staff may also offer added and private support sessions related to personal loss and grief. We all need understanding and reassurance to safely process and adapt to the added stress and natural human reactions of personal loss. Listening will allow the bereaved to process their grief in a safe setting, void of judgment and criticism. Written resources are also offered to provide additional guidance. Awareness of and voluntary attendance of local grief groups are an offered option.   Referral may be suggested, prn for additional professional counsel when complicated grief factors are of issue.

    Helping staff to understand their human needs and how to kindly care for their bereft selves is valuable on a personal and professional level. Employees who receive the added support hopefully will be better grounded so that when at work they can focus their full attention on their patients/family needs. Support may assist them to avoid potential pitfalls of transference and inappropriate boundary crossings.

    Sharla Dreikosen
    Bereavement Coordinator
    Ministry Home Care- Hospice Services Marshfield

  • 3.  RE: Staff Personal Loss

    Posted 12-16-2014 01:17 PM

    Hi Robin -

    We offer confidential grief counseling to staff that have experienced a personal loss/death  (if they want it). Since we are large enough, we are able to offer a counselor that they do not regularly have contact with.  

    For staff that have a family member in hospice, we carefully evaluate who is serving that family and are sensitive to boundaries, etc.  We may assign a bereavement coordinator from another team to serve that family. 

    For a staff that becomes a hospice patient, we provide our usual hospice and bereavement services to the family (unless there are specific requests), strictly maintain HIPAA and also provide support to staff at the time of death and afterwards.  

    For staff that die suddenly, we offer crisis response and grief support to the team (and support for the family as well)

    Last month, we held a memorial service for staff that experienced personal loss in the last two years.  It was well attended, yet intimate, and very moving.  Even though it's been about 3 weeks, staff keep commenting on how meaningful and helpful it was to them. 

    Hope that helps,

    Diane Snyder Cowan, MA, MT-BC, CHPCA
    Director of Bereavement Center
    Hospice of the Western Reserve, Inc

  • 4.  RE: Staff Personal Loss

    Posted 12-16-2014 02:53 PM

    We typically create a "care basket". This basket is filled with things and comfort, and often includes a blanket, slippers, snacks, teas, and notes of support.

    Kathy Cromwell, LCSW

    Director, Hinds Hospice Center for Grief & Healing

    Hinds Hospice

  • 5.  RE: Staff Personal Loss

    Posted 12-16-2014 04:57 PM
    Our agency has experienced a number of staff related losses (staff who have experienced loss). Early in my tenure here we lost a Chaplain, and I was close with him as he had more or less oriented me to my position.  The entire staff, particularly the social workers, were supportive at that time.  As the sole BC for many years, I have offered support to our staff members and some took me up on it.  Now we have 2 BCs, and either one of us would support staff if needed.  I'm not sure if this is what you are asking about.  We also offer a monthly staff support group for general support.

    Merrie MacHose, MA
    Bereavement Coordinator
    Heartland Home Health Care and Hospice