Long Term Care : Long Term Care Facilities: Ways to care for grieving families
Posted by Chapster on Mar-12-2003 (1972 reads)

In a seminar on Grief that ElderHope presented for Seasons Seminars, those who attended submitted the following suggestions for ways that long term care facilities could care for grieving loved ones.

We are grateful for their permission to post these suggestions, many of which have been implemented in their facilities:

Just spend time REALLY listening to the Griever;

Have a five minute "shutdown" on activities by staff that are not absolutely essential. During this time, staff stands by respectfully awaiting the removal of the body and providing support to family;

Before a new patient is put in a room, the bed remains vacant for a few days and a rose is put on the covers;

Request prayers or thoughts for patients in a facility newsletter (please find some way to honor confidentiality and privacy);

Someone should attend the funeral or memorial service;

Send some official recognition of the death (booklet, card, flowers, and please,please, don't make the first contact after the death be a bill!);

Offer a private room for the family and patient;

Have a memorial service at the facility so the family and staff can remember the person together;

Make some kind of well-kept memorial garden where families can plant a rose bush and meditate;

Make sure and have some kind of follow-up with the family after the death and at the anniversary of the death;

Either provde, host or refer Grievers to support groups;

Involve support persons (social worker or clergy);

Provide a time and space for family to gather at the time of death;

Take the time to make the body presentable;

Involve volunteers in caring for families at the time of death;

Management should make sure that they give full support to this kind of follow-up.

If there is one message that we have to give, it's this: Bereavament support doesn't cost, it pays. A few minutes for a call now means that a family will remember that facility for years to come.

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