The Bereavement Program is available to families and friends of palliative care patients as a support service following the death of a loved one. Bereavement volunteers receive training through the society. They will maintain a relationship with the patients’ next of kin for a year following a patient’s death, to help the family deal with grief when necessary. The Society funds a part-time bereavement counselor. In addition to phone calls, the bereavement counselor will make house calls to family members after their loved one has died. Anna Heron says this service has been invaluable. Her son died last spring. “I really needed someone to talk to.”
A Service of Remembrance is held twice a year to celebrate the life of loved ones who have passed within the six month period. The Hospice Palliative Care Society guides and supports this special program. It is a sombre, yet up lifting service, remembering the loved ones who have died, and extending thanks to family and caregivers. The name of each person who has died in the palliative care service during that six month period is read aloud. It is a touching ceremony that offers solace and support to those in attendance. This is another example of palliative care being about much more than just the patient. Months after the patient has passed, this service is offered to aid in the grieving process. Letting families know they are not alone, despite the loss and loneliness they may be feeling is an important part of the healing process . The soulful music allow for reflection and comfort. It is a personal time shared with those who have shared a similar experience. It is also an evening for families, friends, staff and volunteers to re-connect with the many people who participated in the journey of the loved ones that have passed. These are held on the first Monday of June and November and families and caregivers are invited to attend.