End of Life Care - How to Be Present When It Matters Most

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 5/10/2021 8:00 AM by Interim HealthCare
Watching a loved one approach the end of life is never easy. Once they pass away it’s natural to experience powerful human emotions for months or even years. Bereavement describes the period of grief and mourning after a loved one’s death.
On the other hand, grief refers to how an individual reacts after losing a loved one. The length of the bereavement period depends on how close you were to the deceased, whether their death was expected or not, and other factors. If your loved one is receiving end-of-life care, here’s how to be supportive at a time when they need you the most.

How Grief Affects You

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, as grief varies depending upon the individual. You might experience grief as a mental, physical, social, or emotional reaction. Grief can affect you physically by causing changes in appetite, illness, abnormal sleeping patterns, or other physical ailments.
Mental and emotional reactions to grief may include sadness, despair, anxiety, guilt, depression, and even anger. It’s not uncommon for survivors to become socially isolated as they try to cope with their loved one’s death. During the bereavement period many survivors turn to family, friends, and faith as sources of support

The 5 Stages of Grief

Based on years of observations while working with terminally ill patients, a Swiss-American psychiatrist and author named Elizabeth Kubler-Ross believed that grief could be divided up into five stages. In 1969, Dr. Kubler-Ross’ theory was published in a book called On Death and Dying.
Soon thereafter, her theory of grief became known as the Kubler-Ross model. Her observations were quickly adopted by clinicians to not only describe those facing end of life, but also their grieving loved ones.
According to Kubler-Ross model, the five phases of guilt include:
  • Shock and denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
Not everyone experiences all five stages of guilt nor necessarily experience them in this order. During the bereavement period, you may also find yourself remaining in one of the five stages for months or skipping some of the stages entirely.

The Early Grieving Process

It’s also common for close family members to feel overwhelmed at the time of death, which makes it necessary to gently guide them through the decision-making process. Early on during the grief process these actions can help ease the emotional pain and sense-of-loss that a loved one might be experiencing:
  • Accepting the reality of the loss
  • Emotionally relocating the deceased and moving forward in life
  • Adjusting to the environment where the deceased lived
  • Facilitating religious/spiritual rituals
  • Listening to family members reminisce about the deceased
  • Allowing family members to participate in the care of the body, and, if desired, allowing them to be present with the body for as long as they wish

How Interim Healthcare Can Help

During an end-of-life situation the compassionate caregivers from Interim Healthcare can provide families with hospice bereavement support services that are designed to:
  • Help family members understand and move forward in the grief process by encouraging them to express thoughts and feelings, along with helping them identify, develop, and utilize healthy coping strategies.
  • Help families problem-solve when faced with adjustment issues
  • Provide objective decision-making insight
  • Address social and spiritual concerns
  • Assist survivors so that they can adapt to an environment without the deceased while continuing to experience a continued (transformed) relationship with the deceased.
  • Identify and respect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the families and informal caregivers we serve. This step is essential in the development and provision of appropriate bereavement care.

Compassionate In-Home Hospice Care for Families in Redding, CA

As the nation’s first home care company, Interim HealthCare has been providing expertise with a caring hand for over 50 years. Our office in Redding, CA, has been serving families in Shasta County and Tehama County since 1994. In addition to hospice care and palliative care, our compassionate professionals can support you and your family with in-home services including home healthcare, veteran and spouse care, personal care, and more.
At Interim HealthCare of Northern California, we understand how important it is to have someone you can trust when you or a senior loved one wants to stay at home and maintain the highest level of health and independence. To learn more about our team members or in-home services today please visit www.interimhealthcare.com/redding/!

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