Benefits of Grief Support

When the death of a treasured member of a family or dear friend occurs, it can be devastating to those left behind. As no two people are exactly the same, the same holds true with regard to working through grief. Every one grieves in their own manner, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Knowing that there are experts in grief and bereavement to guide people through this difficult time in their life helps. The benefits of grief support are numerous.

What Are the Benefits of Grief Support?

First and foremost, the time following death is very important and should never be rushed. Emotions can make people feel as though they are a ball being flipped to and fro in a pinball machine. Sadness and crying can occur in one person, yet another family member can experience a sense of relief. These emotions are normal and no one should ever feel guilty for experiencing them. That’s where grief support can help.

Regardless of whether a loved one was a hospice patient, adults and children can find support from Chapters Health System grieve in healthy ways. Grieving a death is difficult at any age. After the death of a loved one, the bereavement staff members at any of the Chapters Health affiliates—Good Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice—are there because grieving a death is hard at any age. Grief support is available whenever families feel ready and for as long as they want.

“The families we see most often are in crisis,” said Allyson Moskowitz, Chapters Health Director of Social Services, Bereavement and Volunteer Services. “They’ve had no time to prepare as they might for a death that was anticipated. But actually, no family can ever prepare for the loss of someone they love. They need to talk to others who understand what they’re going through.”

Bereavement staff keep in touch through visits and phone calls to help guide the grief-stricken through this difficult time if so desired. Also available are grief support groups at no cost to any family member or friend who is grieving.

“Grief support is a huge way that Chapters Health gives back to our community, because our grief programs—for adults and children—aren’t limited to those whose loved one was a hospice patient,” added Ms. Moskowitz. “In each of our communities, we are recognized and embraced as ‘The Grief Experts.’  We hire masters-prepared clinicians in our grief support programs. We have clinical social workers and clinical mental health counselors who guide our volunteers.”

grief supportTips to Help Cope with Loss

Grief is not one size fits all. However, there are tips that can help people cope with loss.

  • Like a rollercoaster, healing has ups and downs. Understand that there will be high points and low points. There will be leaps forward when positive experiences return, but sometimes depression can take a person back a couple of steps in the blink of an eye.
  • Seek comfort. Accept grief support from others and seek out if the need arises. It is human to do so.
  • Everyone heals at his or her own pace. Don’t compare the duration of grief to someone else.
  • Don’t be afraid to cry. Crying is therapeutic and a cleansing release.
  • Keep a journal. Putting thoughts down on paper is a good way to release feelings and let them out. Years from now, picking up the journal and reading it back will show just how far someone has come.

Kids Grieve Too

grief supportAcross the affiliates of Chapters Health, grief support is not just for adults. Children may express grief in a similar way to adults. However, their sadness can be conveyed in ways that might not be easily recognized by their parents, loved ones, friends or teachers. That’s why we offer assistance to provide grief support for children too.

Specially trained counselors can guide a child through grief, loss or fear after the death of a loved one. However, what works best for children is receiving grief support before the death even occurs. When counseling happens proactively, children are better prepared to deal with their emotions, thoughts or reactions. Similarly, parents and other family members play an important role in the ability of children to express their grief constructively.

Grieving Children in the Community

Whether the loss is expected or unexpected, grief support is available to children in the community. After a death, counselors meet with children and, when needed, their families to make sure that the child receives the most appropriate support.  Children under the age of 18 living in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties are eligible for grief support with Good Shepherd Hospice. In Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties, HPH Hospice provides these services for children and LifePath Hospice does so in Hillsborough County.

At Chapters Health System and its affiliatesGood Shepherd Hospice, HPH Hospice and LifePath Hospice, every day is devoted to educating our patients and keeping them in the place they call home. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients, young and old alike, and their families are able to make educated decisions about important healthcare matters. For more information, please call our helpful Chapters Health team at 1.866.204.8611 or send an email to info@chaptershealth.org.

About Phoebe Ochman

Phoebe Ochman, Director of Corporate Communications for Chapters Health System, manages all content and communications for the not-for-profit organization.

Annual Weekend Grief Camp for Children

When you think of camp, what do you picture in your imagination? Do you conjure up campers circling a campfire roasting marshmallows? Or do you imagine playing traditional camp games like tug-of war or being divided up into groups for color war activities? The annual weekend camps that all Chapters Health affiliates hold offer children fun camp activities while learning to express and cope with grief and loss. Good Shepherd Hospice hosts Camp Brave Heart at Circle F. Dude Ranch in Lake Wales, and at the Lakewood Retreat Center in Brooksville, HPH Hospice holds Camp REACH OUT and LifePath Hospice runs Camp Circle of Love.

While children participate in conventional camp experiences like swimming, arts and crafts and team sports, emphasis is placed on developing and building trust, coping skills and managing grief. Campers benefit from meeting others their age who experienced a death and often, this helps them feel less alone. Camp Brave Heart, Camp REACH OUT and Camp Circle of Love are all weekend-long events for children ages 6 to 17.

The following are the dates for the 2018 camps:

Friday, March 2 through Sunday, March 4, 2018: HPH Hospice hosts Camp REACH OUT at the Lakewood Retreat Center in Brooksville.

Friday, March 23 through Sunday, March 25, 2018: LifePath Hospice hosts Camp Circle of Love at the Lakewood Retreat Center in Brooksville.

Friday, April 6 through Sunday, April 8, 2018: Good Shepherd Hospice hosts Camp Brave Heart at the Circle F. Dude Ranch in Lake Wales.

To learn more about Camp Brave Heart, the Bethany Center and the grief support provided by Good Shepherd Hospice to residents in Polk, Highlands and Hardee counties and other services, please call our helpful Good Shepherd Hospice team at either 863.968.1707 or toll-free at 1.800.464.3994 or send an email to info@chaptershealth.org

To learn more about Camp REACH OUT, the HPH Hospice Center for Grieving Children and the grief support provided by HPH Hospice to residents in Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties and other services, please contact the HPH Hospice Bereavement Department toll-free at  1.855.465.8238 or send an email to info@chaptershealth.org. 

To learn more about Camp Circle of Love, the Circle of Love Centerand the grief support provided by LifePath Hospice to residents in Hillsborough County and other services, please call our helpful LifePath Hospice team at either 813.877.2200 or toll-free at 1.800.209.2200 or send an email to info@chaptershealth.org

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