Monday, September 10, 2018

Grief Support Exemplifies the Value of Coordinating Care

What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For Jan Jones, it means supporting families on their hospice journey even after their loved one is gone. As Medicare’s first coordinated care model, we must protect the Medicare Hospice Benefit for programs like Jan’s. 

As the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Elizabeth Hospice in Southern California, Jan Jones, RN, BSN can’t help but care deeply about everyone who walks through her door. Throughout her career, she has seen how the death of a loved one, even when expected, can leave behind deep and painful grief for family and friends. Even though grief is a natural response to loss, grieving is a difficult and emotional process. For Jan and her team, caring for those who are grieving can be a precarious undertaking requiring tact and skill because not everyone processes loss the same way and immediate needs vary. This is where experience combined with sensitivity and compassion proves to be invaluable.

In my experience, the hospice community has the knowledge and specialization to offer care for the bereaved – something many people may not know about the hospice benefit. Hospice exemplifies the principles of quality, compassionate, personalized care that everyone wants and deserves. Anyone who has ever been affected by hospice and palliative care--whether as a patient, loved one, or healthcare professional--understands the immense value of comprehensive and coordinated care models like hospice.

Hospice bereavement services are diverse, and our program includes a number of support groups specialized for spouses, children, parents or caregivers, as well as support for communities processing unexpected deaths, tragedies and natural disasters. While hospice bereavement services can come in the form of groups or outreach, it can also come through yoga, guided meditation, writing workshops, hiking excursions and pet therapy.   

While the details of support may vary, what all these programs share in common is that they are comprehensive in scope. As a care team, we all work together to develop and coordinate a plan for an individual based on their needs, experiences, interactions with our team and their relation to the deceased.

We will all likely experience grief at some point, but it’s a comfort to know that the hospice community has the depth of experience and expertise willing to support individuals and communities through the grieving process. This openness and commitment to care are the cornerstones of the philosophy of care and I cherish the thousands of lives we have been able to touch.

We invite you to keep promoting the power of hospice by joining the My Hospice campaign. Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter or share your My Hospice story with us.

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