Hospice is not just about the patient or the doctor; it is about the family. It is the family that will have to deal with all the emotions that go along with the end stages of life and afterward. When most people think about hospice care, they don’t always take this into account. However, medical professionals have, and that’s why hospice teams always include a bereavement component, as well as a social worker, psychologist and clergy member.
We’ve dealt with many families who have gone through the hospice process and have enjoyed quality time with their loved one, believing that being there was enough. But once that person passes, the emotional burden of a death takes over. Everyone needs a shoulder to cry on, someone to speak to who will listen to what they have to say and finally, someone to give them the advice and often the strength they need to carry on.
Most hospice care programs provide about a year of bereavement counseling for family members. They treat the patient and the family as a unit, understanding that hospice is not just about the patient having a quality end of life experience surrounded by those who love him or her, but an opportunity to provide early grief (bereavement) intervention and counseling for the surviving family members.
At Luxe Hospice we perform a bereavement risk assessment which is typically completed by the hospice social worker at the time of admission to hospice. Depending on the results of the evaluation, our hospice team creates a plan of care to address bereavement/grief issues and implement and update it as needed.
Depending on the patient and family/caregiver needs identified in the assessment, our bereavement counselors may need to contact or provide supportive counseling before the patient’s death. This can be accomplished either during a visit or by phone call, whichever the family prefers.
After a death has occurred, the hospice team discuss and update the care plan. It is up to the family whether or not they participate in the bereavement program offered by Luxe Hospice. Within two weeks following a patient’s death, our staff sends a sympathy card to the bereaved. A week after that a bereavement letter is sent offering and outlining the Luxe Hospice bereavement services. Within a three- to five-week period following a death, we will complete a bereavement assessment to identify the family’s needs.
Ongoing bereavement contact will be concluded at the end of one year (12 months) if the bereaved is no longer in need of hospice bereavement services. A letter will be sent indicating completion of bereavement services. If at one year the bereaved individuals are still grieving and it is still perceived as acute, the counselor will reassess which additional professional services may be necessary and make appropriate referrals for those services.
Our hospice program, which covers the Pacific Palisades, Malibu, Santa Monica, Brentwood and Belair areas, provides your loved one and their survivors a plan of care that emphasizes comfort for the dying and emotional support for the bereaved. We welcome your inquiries and will be glad to answer your questions. We can be reached at (310) 459-2040 and info@Luxehc.com. Please visit our website luxehospice.com for any additional information.