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Bereavement Support in South Eastman


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Title: Bereavement Support in South Eastman

Bereavement Support in South Eastman
  • September 21, 2007,
  • 1130 a.m. 1230 p.m.
  • Concurrent Session D

SEHs Bereavement Support Team
  • Maggie Magnusson Bereavement Support
    Coordinator (volunteer)
  • Ruby Garand Palliative Care Psychosocial
  • Larry Hirst Chaplain, Bethesda Hospital and
  • Trained Volunteers for phone support services and
    home visitation support services

A Brief History of Bereavement Support in South
  • 1995-2000 Palliative Care Services offered the
    Memory Tree and Memory Trees Memorial Service
    prior to Christmas each December.
  • 1995-2000 Palliative Care Services offered
    several spring Gathering of memories evenings
    as well as a Spring Memory Tree.
  • 1999- Telephone Bereavement Support was
    introduced using volunteers

History continued
  • 2001 A Volunteer Coordinator position was
    established. First funded through donation
    dollars, since has become a RHA funded position
  • 2002 Planned the first Healing Group as an
    annual opportunity, since then it has become a
    simi-annual opportunity.

Our Bereavement Support Services
  • Bereavement Support Packet
  • Healing Groups
  • Telephone Bereavement Support
  • Bereavement Support Home Visitation
  • One on One Bereavement Support Counseling
  • Annual memory Tree and Memory Tree Memorial
  • Teaching and Training

1. Bereavement Support Packet
  • When is the packet sent?
  • Our Bereavement Support Packet is sent out to
    the home of those who have experienced the loss
    of a loved one about 2 weeks after the death by
    our Palliative Care Administrative Assistant.

Bereavement Support Packet
  • What does the Packet contain?
  • Our Bereavement Packet contains information that
    is intended to providing our clients with
    resources to help them understand the bereavement
    process as well as understanding how to access
    resources to assist them as they journey through
    their grief.

Our Bereavement Support Packet Contains
  • Letter explaining the purpose of the packet
  • A Number of articles
  • Helping Children through Grief
  • Helping Spouses through Grief
  • How to Help Yourself through the Holidays
  • How will I heal?
  • Reconciling Your Grief
  • The Grief Experience

Our Bereavement Support Packet Contains
  • A copy of The Mourners Code
  • A Sympathy Card from the Palliative Team
  • A Bibliography of locally available books on
  • Bereavement Support Services Handout
  • Business Cards Maggie Magnusson, Ruby Garand
    Larry Hirst
  • A label containing information about the next
    Healing Group

2. The Healing Group
  • Our Healing Group is a six week Bereavement
    Support Group offered in the Spring and Fall of
    each year.
  • Information is first provided in the Bereavement
    Packet. Brochure in the packet contains
    registration for Healing Group
  • Participants are called to inquire about which of
    the Bereavement services offered they would like
    to take advantage of

The Healing Group
  • Prior to the start of each group participants
    are called to see if they wishes to join the
    Healing Group.
  • The Healing Groups are limited to 12 individuals
  • They meet six consecutive Monday evenings from 7
    9 p.m.
  • In the chapel of Bethesda Place Personal care Home

The Healing Group
  • The six evenings each have a theme
  • Introduction, Registration, Objectives and Goal
  • Exploring and Learning about our responses to
    grief emotionally physically
  • Taking care of yourself physically as you grieve
  • Self-care and nurturing
  • Challenges while grieving
  • Gathering and sharing memories

The Healing Group
  • The evenings are facilitated by Maggie Magnusson
  • Maggie often invites a guest presenter
  • A doctor to talk about caring for yourself
  • A Palliative Care Nurse and a Volunteer from
    Hospice and palliative care to talk about self
  • The Chaplain to talk about the challenges facing
    those who are grieving

The Healing Group
  • Each gathering has a number of rituals
  • A check in ritual where each member shares what
    they did in the previous week to care for
  • The ritual of sharing a snack half way through
    the evening, relationships often deepen as people
    share during the break
  • The ritual of giving and receiving. Each evening
    each person brings a token gift and the gifts are
    placed in a basket, at the end of the evening the
    basket is passed and each person takes a gift.
    This encourages self care and mutual

The Healing Group
  • The closing evening a memorial service is held.
    Each person is asked to bring a picture of the
    person they are grieving.
  • During the evening stories are told, tears are
    shed, memories are honored as a means of saying,
    Its OK to grieve our losses, to be touched
    deeply by our pain, to hold on to our memories,
    for as we do, we begin the process of healing
    from the wound that the death of our loved one
    inflicted on our spirit.

3. Telephone Bereavement Support
  • Voluntary service offered to participants
  • Calls made by trained volunteers (regular
    Palliative Care Volunteer training Telephone
    Bereavement Support training)
  • Calls are made on a regular schedule

Telephone Bereavement Support
  • The begin 2-3 weeks after the death and continue
    for a year following the death.
  • The frequency of the calls slowly declines as the
    year passes and the bereaved experience healing
  • Calls are made and , documentation is maintained
    and kept in the Volunteer Coordinators office

4. Bereavement Support Home Visitation
  • Presently this service is quite sporadic
  • We do have trained volunteers (regular Palliative
    Care Volunteer Training Home Visitation

5. One To One Bereavement Counseling
  • We have three people offering One to One
    Bereavement Counseling in our Region
  • Maggie Magnusson with a background as a
    Registered Psychiatric Nurse
  • Ruby Garand with a background in Social Work
  • Larry Hirst with a background in Pastoral Care

One To One Bereavement Counseling
  • One to One Bereavement Counseling is provide by
    one of three of our Team members
  • Maggie Magnusson Bereavement Coordinator
  • Ruby Garand Psychosocial Specialist
  • Larry Hirst Chaplain
  • Provided on an as needed basis to those
    participants that desire more personal attention
    to deal with the struggles of their loss

6. Memory Tree and Memory Tree Memorial Service
  • Each December Our Palliative Program provides a
    Memory Tree in the Clearspring Mall in Steinbach.
    This 15-20 foot Christmas Tree is then adorned
    with cards signed my hundreds of members of the
    community and Region who want to remember a loved
    one during the Christmas season. The Tree is
    manned by members of our Palliative Care
    Volunteer team.

Memory Tree Memorial Service
  • At the end of the Christmas season, either just
    prior to or just after Christmas we hold a public
    Service of Remembrance.
  • This service is led by Chaplain Larry Hirst a
    member of the Team and is supported by the other
    members of the Team
  • A copy of the service can be had upon request
    from Larry Hirst contact by email

7. Teaching
  • Bereavement Training happens in several venues in
    South Eastman Health
  • Palliative Care Training for HCAs one of the
    modules in our Palliative Care HCA training
    relates to the sensitivity required to understand
    and relate to the family who is left to mourn the

  • Palliative Care Volunteer Training several of
    the sessions relate to the development of skills
    our volunteers will need to deal with the grief
    experienced when there is a death
  • Specialized training is provided to select
    volunteers for our Telephone Support Service (a
    training manual has been developed for this
  • Specialized training is provided for select
    volunteers for our Bereavement Home Visitation
    Service ( a training manual has been developed
    for this training)

  • Periodically the Bereavement Support Team
    provides a Grieving During the Holidays in-
    service for the general public.

The Challenges of providing consistent
Bereavement Support
  • Keeping in touch with the bereaved we serve at
    times the number and need can tax our limits
  • Telephone Bereavement Support volunteers can not
    make calls from their homes for reasons of
    confidentiality program records do not leave
    the office

The Challenges of providing consistent
Bereavement Support
  • Corporate policy dictates that all materials be
    translated into French, this results in some long
    delays as we wait for the translation and
    publishing to happen
  • Our geography (as in each rural or northern RHA)
    can be a challenge as we have no funding to pay
    for the gas of volunteers who are integral to our

  • Bereavement support is the final chapter for a
    well rounded Palliative Care Program. However,
    funding for this aspect is scarce if not
    non-existent. Palliative Care Teams who desire
    to do this well will have to depend largely on
    trained and dedicated volunteers.

Thank You
  • The South Eastman Palliative Care Team
  • Anne Plett Regional Palliative Care Coordinator
    (1.0 EFT)
  • Maggie Cowell Palliative Care Volunteer
    Coordinator (0.5 EFT)
  • Pauline Gosselin (0.4 EFT) and Debbie Krahn (0.5
    EFT) Regional Palliative Care Nurses
  • Ruby Garand Regional Psychosocial Specialist
    (1.0 EFT)
  • Maggie Magnusson Bereavement Coordinator
  • Dr. Darren Reimer Medical Director of
    Palliative Care ( 0.2 EFT)
  • Larry Hirst Chaplain at Bethesda Hospital and