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What Happens When A Patient Passes Away?

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The end of life is a difficult thing to talk about and cope with. Losing a loved one can be one of the hardest things to endure. At some point, every person loses a loved one. It’s important to have support and care throughout this period, even if you’ve experienced a loss before. Each passing and grief experience is unique, and everyone experiences grief differently. 

At Envision Hospice, we are grieved to lose a patient. We feel that our patients are part of our family. That’s why, when a patient passes away, we are there to provide hospice bereavement care for the family. 

Why does Envision Hospice offer bereavement care?

Why do we continue to provide care for the family throughout this time? We care deeply for our families. Throughout the duration of hospice care, we get to know family members of the patients. We see the love, humor, and connection shared by the patient and their loved ones. 

We want to walk alongside families as they go through the grieving process. We too want to celebrate the lives of our patients and we mourn their passing. And our Envision Hospice families deserve to have the support they need in their grief. Whether you are a brother or sister, daughter or son, cousin, nephew, or close friend, we are here to walk with you during this difficult time. 

What’s included in hospice bereavement care?

This can look different based on the needs and preferences of each family member. However, Envision Hospice does follow a schedule of regular check-ins. We initially make a phone call to the family to let them know that we’re grieving with them, and to offer our immediate support. We want our families to know that they’re not alone. We always leave space in the conversation to talk about feelings, worries, or to listen to stories about the loved one. 

Hospice bereavement care can happen in person or over the phone. Our compassionate team is helpful to family members who wish to talk about their grief, sadness, or pain. The counselors on our team can also offer strategies to help cope with grief. We can share resources in the community as well, such as grief support for children. 

Families who participate in our program can expect continuous support throughout the 13 months following their loss. At any time, participants can access our support and resources to assist them in their journey. At the mark of three, six, nine, and 12 months, we send out letters to check in on how the family is doing. These check-ins can be good reminders to do mental health checks and reflect on how you’re coping. 

Many are familiar with the five stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

While experiencing the loss of a loved one, we may jump around between these stages. It doesn’t always seem clear which stage is being experienced, and they aren’t always felt one after the other. Regardless of which stage you feel you are in, our hospice bereavement care team is here to support you and walk beside you in it. 

Losing a loved one after using hospice care is new for many people. This kind of loss can be complex. It is hard to watch a family member become less mobile, less emotionally available, and come closer to the end of life. Even when death is anticipated, it can still be hard. That’s why hospice bereavement care is a fitting program for our families. We understand the unique challenges of this experience. We want to help.

Finally, Envision Hospice is proud to once again hold a yearly memorial service for our beloved patients who have passed away. Due to covid, we have had to postpone this important event for the past couple of years. However, we are eager to begin it again. This is a service where we celebrate the lives of our patients and remember them. The families of the patients are invited and welcomed to share their stories and memories. It is a beautiful event. 

For more information on how Envision Hospice can help you get through this season of loss, please don’t hesitate to contact us. 

What if I’m not ready to receive hospice bereavement care?

Everyone experiences grief differently. Many of us prefer to take other avenues of support during this time. Some family members appreciate our offer of support, but wish to take the reins on reaching out when they feel ready. We completely understand, and support each person in their individual needs. 

If you feel that you need space during this time, please let us know. We want to do what is best for you, even if that means that we step back. We appreciated it when participants let us know how they want to be served, instead of us telling them what their needs are. For example, perhaps someone wants to be left alone until they are ready to receive our support. That person might ask that we check in once a month to see if they’re ready, or they might let us know that they will call when they are ready. Our program will still be open to them. 

Grieving a loved one is never easy. There are strong emotions, sweet memories, and important questions to deal with. Hospice bereavement care can empower families to grieve with the support they need and with the knowledge that they are not alone. Envision Hospice greatly cares for its families. Our bereavement program enables us to walk alongside you during this challenging period.

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