Why doctors don’t attend their patients’ funerals

“Almost four years ago, I reported in The Oncologist that my colleagues in Israel rarely participate in bereavement rituals when informed that a patient has died. Approximately two-thirds of the 126 doctors I surveyed said they simply do not have the time to attend funerals or visit mourners during the shivah (a seven-day Jewish ritual where condolences can be expressed). But half also reported that they construed a patient’s death as a failure or acknowledged a need to desensitize themselves against the burnout.”  More.

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Spiritual care for the dying and bereaved

Penelope Wilcock shares her insights on how to comfort some  Christians who are faced with dying or the death of the ones they love in her new book, Spiritual Care of Dying and Bereaved People

Home Funerals Grow As Americans Skip The Mortician For Do-It-Yourself After-Death Care

Each year, 2.5 million Americans die. For the majority, about 70 percent, deaths happen in a hospital, nursing home or long-term care facility. What happens afterwards is nearly always the same, with few exceptions for religious traditions: A doctor or nurse will sign a death certificate and the body will be whisked to the funeral home, where it’s washed, embalmed, dressed, and prepared for a viewing and burial. A family usually sees the dead only a few times: when they die, if there’s an open-casket viewing and in the rare case when a casket is opened during burial.

But a small and growing group of Americans are returning to a more hands-on, no-frills experience of death. In the world of “do it yourself” funerals, freezer packs are used in lieu of embalming, unvarnished wooden boxes replace ornate caskets, viewings are in living rooms and, in some cases, burials happen in backyards. Full story @ Huffington Post.

Sunderland lights celebrate lost loved ones

A SEA of twinkling lights was created as people paid tribute to loved ones who spent their last days at a Wearside hospice.

The annual Light Up A Life celebration at St Benedict’s Hospice saw hundreds of people gather in the grounds of Monkwearmouth Hospital.

Each year hundreds of beautiful lights are lit on the Light Up A Life tree and twinkle in memory of loved ones throughout the Christmas period.

Hospice chaplain Caroline Worsfold welcomed the crowds to the service on Sunday evening, which was the last one at the hospice’s current home. MORE.

Healing Grief At Work Conference Yields Good Advice

A recent Good Grief: A Mo(u)rning Conference in the Morning examined how grief can be addressed – and healed – in the workplace. “The session provided a clear understanding of how companies can prepare for and survive grief,” Los Gatos Chaplain Tom Jackson said after attending. “Our discussions ranged from dealing with the unexpected death of a charismatic leader to the aftermath of workplace violence.”
Each participant received a copy of Healing Grief at Work: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Workplace Is Touched by Loss, a book by Dr. Alan Wolfet. “Some of these ideas are important for Spiritual Care volunteers and clergy to remember when they are talking with someone who is grieving,” Chaplain Jackson added. For example, Dr. Wolfet warns that “well intention but misinformed friends” may give hurtful advice that sounds like this:
  • I know how you feel.
  • Get on with your life.
  • Keep your chin up.
  • It was God’s will.
  • Be glad it was quick.
  • Think of all you have to be thankful for.
  • Now you have an angel in heaven.
  • Time heals all wounds.
  • You’re strong, You’ll get through this.
“Don’t take this advice to heart,” Dr. Wolfet writes. “Such clichés are often offered because people don’t know what else to say. The problem is, phrases like these diminish your unique and significant loss.”

Grieving Sudden Loss: A Spiritual Director Sheds Light

Nick McDonald, director of spiritual care with Upper Chesapeake Health, confirmed what may seem to be the obvious: that in his experience, dealing with a sudden or violent death can be more unpredictable and difficult than dealing with other manners of death.

The grief surrounding sudden death can also be complicated by the circumstances, such as if illegal activity was involved. This can add a level of shame and make grieving more difficult.

McDonald said the accepted stages of grieving don’t really apply to sudden death scenarios because the stages were devised under the assumption that there will be time to process that death is coming.

“The sudden death piece, there is no playbook for that,” McDonald said.

With that being said, there are some things experts do know about dealing with sudden death.

“A really important part of sudden death is the notification process itself,” McDonald said in a recent interview with Patch. “Just the way that’s done can make a big deal with the way grief is dealt with.” Full story.