Before and after a death, bereavement support helps individuals cope with the loss of a loved one

As the journey of life comes to an end, a patient’s spiritual care is one of the most important things to address. We recognize that each patient understands spirituality differently and approaches death with their own unique experiences, ideas, values, hopes, needs, and life stories. Caring for a patient’s spiritual needs in hospice begins with understanding their expectations, beliefs, and boundaries. This work is done by our spiritual care specialists who speak with you and the people closest to you so that we better understand how you want to approach the dying process. This type of care is for everyone – for people with strong spiritual beliefs, for people struggling with their spiritual beliefs, or for people who claim no spiritual beliefs at all. 

The role of a hospice chaplain

Some patients and families prefer to have our chaplain visit with them to compassionately share fears and concerns, consider deep questions, and pray together. Non-denominational chaplains can provide help and support as soon as the patient is admitted into hospice. They are trained and skilled in helping family members, and loved ones find the emotional strength they need during this challenging time. Chaplains sympathetically listen, converse, and sometimes just empathize with patients and their families as they navigate the struggles and discoveries that happen during the end of life journey.  

Contact with your own priest, rabbi, or spiritual leader

Some patients and families would like to take advantage of their religious communities and resources. Hospice staff and facilities fully support your choice to use your spiritual advisor. These existing relationships can be especially meaningful to you at this critical time. If you need a specific ritual or prefer the service of a specific rabbi, priest, or another religious professional, we encourage you or your family members to be in regular contact with them so that their care can be scheduled successfully. 

People don’t always grieve in a predictable progression

After the loss of a loved one, there are no exact steps, or order that will determine the duration or intensity of your loss.  Each person grieves in their own way based on their own unique personality. This experience can change day-by-day and even moment-to-moment. One day you might find you are doing better. On another day, you might find yourself struggling with tears, anger, or loneliness.  The best advice is to be patient and flexible with yourself and others. Some people experience intense emotional pain and despair that disturbs their eating, sleeping, memory, and energy. It is not uncommon to even still speak to a loved one or expect them to return home in the first couple of weeks. Many grievers report being in a mental fog. Some people their sense of shock, numbness, and even relief eventually gives way to sadness as the reality of the loss sinks in.  Without a doubt, during the initial period of loss, these feelings can be very intense and overwhelming.    

Painful reminders may trigger depressing episodes

As the weeks turn into months, people in grief experience what are commonly called “grief triggers.” A place, an object, or an experience – sometimes expected and sometimes surprising – can trigger a sharp and painful reminder of your loss. It could be a simple as hearing a favorite song, knowing that today is the opening game of your loved one’s favorite sports team, or even just choosing an outfit to wear. Triggers can be tied to “secondary” losses such as the loss of companionship at family events, the loss of someone who did the cooking or who handled the bills. You should know that you cannot avoid triggers. You should also know that there are healthy ways to deal with your feelings when they are triggered.

When you feel overwhelmed, lost, or stuck, reach out for support

Grief counseling can happen in one-on-one settings with professionals or within support groups.  Both settings help you feel less confused and alone after a painful loss. Reaching out for support is not a sign of weakness or that you are failing to handle your grief. Rather it is always a positive sign of strength and commitment to healing and recovery. Nathan Adelson Hospice provides continuing contact and support for family and friends for a minimum of 13 months following the death of a loved one. Our bereavement and grief support groups are open to anyone in our community who has experienced the death of a family member or friend. A trained grief counselor facilitates each session in a confidential setting, and all groups are open to the public and are free of charge. For answers to your questions, additional information, or to discuss a hospice referral, call the Nathan Adelson Hospice admission team at 702.733.0320. 

We can be your trusted partner

The philosophy of Nathan Adelson Hospice is to provide support and care so that people with a life-limiting illness may live as fully and comfortably as possible. As southern Nevada’s hospice of choice, we demonstrate an unwavering commitment to make sure that no one in our care ends the journey of life alone, afraid or in pain.