Hospice often involves weeks or months of focused, intense caregiving for a dying loved one. While death is the expected end, it’s never easy, no matter how prepared you are.

Many people don’t realize that hospice support includes grief and bereavement care for surviving loved ones. At Heart to Heart Hospice, we understand the difficulty associated with losing someone you love, and we want to help ensure that loved ones are left with positive memories and peace of mind. 

Leading up to the patient’s passing, hospice can offer assistance with funeral planning, healthcare documents and grief care. While spiritual, emotional and relational support happens during the hospice caregiving phase, they also continue for the survivors in the form of ongoing bereavement services. The goal is to help family and friends manage their grief, get practical support and provide referrals if extra resources are needed.

After-hospice bereavement care includes:

  • Up to 13 months of bereavement support after death, including support groups and referrals to appropriate therapeutic and community resources.
  • Bereavement literature mailed to homes and Heart to Heart Hospice’s Patient and Family Handbook, which includes valuable grief information and a Survivor’s Checklist for practical matters.
  • Grief and loss support visits by the Spiritual Care Coordinator and/or Bereavement Coordinator, as needed.
  • An annual memorial service for family and friends.

Hospice helps families deal with all kinds of grief after loss, including helping children grieve, navigating complicated family relationships, offering veteran family support, connecting families with disease-specific support groups like cancer or Alzheimer’s and more.

News Line, a publication by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, notes that “bereavement care is an integral component of hospice and palliative care – part of the philosophy of care that separates us from many other health care providers.” Read how bereavement is an integral part of hospice in this archived issue of NewsLine.