Bereavement support offered at Highland Community Hospital

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 15, 2015

According to the National Library of Medicine, bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death.
The NLM’s website also states that grief is part of the normal process when reacting to a loss. Grief can be experienced as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction and include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Physical reactions include sleeping problems, appetite changes, physical problems or illness.
The length of bereavement depends on how close people were to the person who died or if the person’s death was expected or not, the website states.
About a year ago, Forrest General Hospice opened an office in Picayune, Forrest General Social Worker and Bereavement Support Group facilitator Libby Carroll said. Around that same time, the Bereavement Support Group began offering support to people experiencing the different stages of grief.
“Offering support is one of the things hospices are supposed to do,” Carroll said. “Hospice care focuses on quality of life, providing comforting measures, support and education for the patient and family members.”
In order for patients to receive hospice care, a physician must sign a plan of care, which gives the patient about a six-month life expectancy should the illness continue, Carroll said.
However, Carroll said she has seen many patients live longer with hospice care.
“There is still a decline in their health,” she said, “but just not as rapid. There is a greater life expectancy because our nurses are controlling their symptoms more. We can do so much to help the quality of life.”
There are three nurses that work out of the Picayune office and they travel to homes in order to provide patient care.
Forrest General Home Care and Hospice accepts most insurance plans, Medicaid and Medicare as long as the patient meets certain requirements, Carroll said.
The Bereavement Support Group is open to anyone in the entire Pearl River County community that has experienced a loss, Carroll said.
After attending a support group, Carroll said one member told her he “did not know how he would have gotten through losing his wife had it not been for the support.”
“Some people are private and it’s up to them if they want to attend,” Carroll said. “I know of no one that attended that has not benefited.”
The Bereavement Support Group meets in the private dining room at Highland Community Hospital the third Tuesday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The next meeting will be held Tuesday, July 21.
There is no charge to attend and topics discussed during meetings are kept confidential, Carroll said.
For more information about the support group, contact Carroll at 601-288-2505.

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