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May 27, 2022

Bereavement care is part of hospice, but what exactly is it, who does it, and what should it look like?  Hospice agencies in the U.S. are required to offer bereavement services to families and loved ones of patients who die on hospice service.  For up to 13 months after the death, families receive support for their grief.  It can come in many different forms, depending on the individual needs of the family. The Bereavement Plan of Care is written according to how the family is coping with the death.  Hospice team members do a Bereavement Risk Assessment, factoring in situations and stressors that might elevate the level of grief.  Sometimes grief is complicated by poor coping skills, dysfunctional relationships, mental illness, or limited education.  Grief is also influenced by the age of the person because children and teens have different ways of dealing with grief.  There’s a wide variety of items that can be included in bereavement services, including phone calls, letters, resources or handouts, agency memorial services, grief support groups, and individual in-person bereavement visits.  Agencies have to provide bereavement care, but families or caregivers do not have to participate in it - it’s their choice.  Check out the bereavement services your agency offers!

Don’t forget to register for the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association conference coming up June 6-10 by visiting!  Be sure to tell them you heard about it on The Heart of Hospice podcast.

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