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Returning to School After the Sudden Death of a Loved One

August 25, 2015

The lazy days of summer are quickly coming to an end.  As we move into the routine of another school year filled with promise, death is typically the last thing on our minds. Unfortunately, sudden death can strike the lives of students and school communities without warning, leaving despair, uncertainty and pain in its wake.

Sudden death presents a unique set of circumstances that can impact children’s grieving process. Death may be due to illness (i.e. heart attack, stroke) or more traumatic circumstances such as accidents, natural disasters, suicide or even homicide. The sudden and overwhelming nature of this type of death can itself be traumatic. Young children are more vulnerable to sudden loss due to developmental limits which affect their ability to process such change. They may show regressive, clingy behaviors, or even seem unaffected by the loss.

Older children show distress more directly because they are more likely to grasp the meaning of the loss; they may act out feelings through play or attention-seeking behavior. Teens appear to grieve much like adults; however, deep, intense feelings may be expressed indirectly via self-destructive behavior or withdrawal. Behaviors specific to the school setting such as decreased concentration and memory, school avoidance or even flashbacks and intrusive memories may be observed. Grief reactions can affect students emotionally, physically, cognitively and even spiritually.

Thankfully, arming ourselves with knowledge and resources can help to offset feelings of panic and anxiety and aid us in supporting children.  Remember that children are intermittent grievers, that grief continues over time and grief responses change as the child ages.

Here are some suggestions to assist children after death:

  • Use honesty and simplicity. Children are concrete thinkers and are often confused by metaphors such as “your grandpa is sleeping”, euphemisms and complicated stories.
  • Be available to listen and initiate conversations. Children need you to normalize their grief reactions to feel safe expressing them.
  • Describe the big feelings of grief. Share ways that you have manage these feelings. Reassure them by letting them know what you are doing to keep them safe and healthy.
  • Be aware of magical thinking. Children believe their thoughts can cause things to happen-they may believe that things they wished, or said, or did caused the person to die. They may also believe that the person is coming back. It is important to help children understand the finality of death so that they can grieve the loss.
  • Model healthy coping. Let your children know that it is healthy to cry and that it may make them feel better. Offer creative and safe ways for children to express feelings.
  • Maintain daily routines. Routine provides safety and security.
  • Encourage involvement in memorializing activities. Remembrance activities, such as collecting photos, retelling their stories or creating a memory box, provide children safe and constructive ways to express their grief.
  • Do not lose hope. Help your child carve out a special place in their heart for their loved one while helping them integrate this death into their lives. As they grow and mature, they may feel sadness with each milestone – graduations, family events, holidays, and other special times. Your openness and understanding through these times will be comforting.

Please visit our school services page.

Protected: Expanded Organization Offers Increased Efficiencies, More Care Options

August 21, 2015

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Job Opening: Patient Accounts Supervisor

August 19, 2015

PATIENT ACCOUNTS SUPERVISOR
Location: Cleveland, OH

Coordinates patient insurance verification, billing, collection and cash application functions. Ensures that patient bills are complete, timely, accurate and collected in compliance with Hospice of the Western Reserve policies and regulatory standards.

Requirements:

Five (5) years experience in healthcare billing, collections and cash application; Five (5) years experience with computerized healthcare billing software systems; Bachelor’s Degree or comparable work experience.

Click here to apply.

Volunteer Opportunities

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About Hospice of the Western Reserve

Hospice of the Western Reserve provides palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio.  In celebration of the individual worth of each life, we strive to relieve suffering, enhance comfort, promote quality of life, foster choice in end-of-life care and support effective grieving.

*Please do not submit resumes or any personal information in the comments section*

Suggestions to Aid a Grieving Co-worker

August 7, 2015

 

  • Your presence is the most valuable thing you can give.
  • Sit near your grieving co-worker. Hold their hand, give a hug, pass a tissue, cry with them, and listen to them.
  • Do not struggle with finding the “right” words to say. A simple “I’m sorry” is enough.
  • Give private time to your co-worker, but never let them feel like they are alone. Feeling alone increases feelings of emptiness and despair.  If you do not know what to do, ask yourself, “What would I like done for me under these circumstances?”
  •  Directly ask your co-worker what s/he needs.
  • Talk if your co-worker wants to talk. Keep silent if your co-worker prefers silence.
  • Focus on giving rather than receiving. Grieving co-workers need much help and rarely have much to give in return.
  • Bring food to the home. Help with household chores.
  • If you are unable to tolerate extremely painful mourning, help from afar; share their workload, donate your sick/vacation time. Do not tell a grieving co-worker not to cry because you are not able to bear it. Weeping is essential.
  • Share your own grieving experiences but use good judgment. Only share that which will offer hope and survival.
  • Include grieving co-workers in social invitations. Allow them to freely accept or refuse.
  • Use good judgment in how long to visit. Grieving co-workers will be grateful you are there, but not comfortable asking you to leave.
  • Acknowledge the loss. This can be said simply and directly or send a note, flowers, or a donations to charities in their name.
  • Sharing spiritual beliefs that are uplifting can give great support. Do not push your beliefs on your grieving co-worker. Praying together can create a sense of unity.
  • Do not withdraw support too quickly after the funeral. This could create another sense of loss.
  • If your grieving co-worker does not seem to be recovering or is taking an inordinately long time grieving, it is appropriate for someone to suggest that your co-worker consult a professional counselor. Everyone is different even though there are similar needs.

Finn Announces Long-Term Plans, Organization Nears 100,000th Patient

August 7, 2015

Tfinn at podiumwenty years ago, Hospice of the Western Reserve began admitting patients at its new hospice house – the first in Ohio and one of only a handful in the country – overlooking 1,200 feet of Lake Erie waterfront.

In October 2015, the agency projects it will care for its 100,000 patient.

At a recent anniversary ceremony for the facility, president and chief executive officer Bill Finn announced the agency is engaged in a master planning process with C.C. Hodgson, a firm specializing in healthcare and senior living design services.

“This is a multi-year journey,” Finn said, speaking before an audience of staff members, volunteers and community supporters. “Our objective is to set long-term goals for David Simpson Hospice House and the adjacent 12-acre Christian Life Center property we acquired in 2009. As we examine the options to grow and to expand this campus, our focus is on solutions that will most benefit the Northern Ohio region – our patients, families and the community.”

Hospice of the Western Reserve, a nonprofit community-based agency, is one of the pioneers of the hospice movement in the U.S.  Founded in 1978 as “Cancer Family Service” in Lake County, Ohio, the organization evolved into Hospice of the Western Reserve and today cares for more than 1,100 patients per day in a service area that encompasses nine Northern Ohio counties.

Finn acknowledged the generosity of donors, including a bequest from former Euclid resident Helen Kassay – the largest in the agency’s history. Kassay was a Hospice of the Western Reserve volunteer. She and her husband, Steve, were also cared for by the agency.

A portion of the gift, along with those of other donors, will fund new furnishings throughout David Simpson Hospice House. Flat screen TVs and virtual-visiting technology will be installed in the 40 suites, allowing family members to Skype with loved ones receiving care there. “We are grateful for Helen’s gift, which will dramatically enhance the family environment we work so hard to create,” Finn said.

A large portion of the gift is earmarked for staff development, including underwriting for the cost of professional certifications. “The funding enables us to continue our focus on specialized training to provide symptom management for even the most complex cases,” Finn added.

Job Opening: Technical Support Specialist

July 31, 2015

 

TECHNICAL SUPPORT SPECIALIST
Location: Cleveland, OH

Provide support to end users on issues related to performance, maintenance and use of the agency’s personal computers, networks and applications. Research, analyze and resolve assigned problems and escalate to appropriate areas when needed.

Requirements:

Two years post high school education and two years’ work experience in help desk, database support and data conversion or related work. Additional work experience may be substituted for education

Click here to apply.

Volunteer Opportunities

Back to job listings

 

About Hospice of the Western Reserve

Hospice of the Western Reserve provides palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio.  In celebration of the individual worth of each life, we strive to relieve suffering, enhance comfort, promote quality of life, foster choice in end-of-life care and support effective grieving.

*Please do not submit resumes or any personal information in the comments section*

Continuing Bonds

July 28, 2015

Many grieving people wonder how they can maintain the bond they had with their deceased loved one as they move on with their lives. Many can’t even imagine moving on.

Developing a continuing bond happens over time. It shifts and changes for the mourner as different meanings in the loss are discovered. Continuing bonds provides solace, support and helps ease the transition from the past to the present.

Finding a way to carry the love for the deceased in our hearts is a great comfort. Some folks make major life changes. They go back to school, get new jobs, advocate for new laws or start fundraising. Others engage in their heritage and cultural activities to find meaning and connection.

Often we hear mourners remark, he would have loved this. I often think how my dad would react to certain news events. I know he would have loved when all of his children would get together.  He would have loved my newest granddaughter. The truth is that we can honor and remember our loved one in the context of things they haven’t experienced but would have loved.

Finding consolation in simple things can also help grievers find meaning in the relationship with the deceased and with the death. It helps create a bridge to a lasting, enduring, loving connection.

Remember your beloved when ….

…that person’s favorite song or artist comes on the radio.

…you wear a certain piece of jewelry or clothing.

…savoring a favorite food or dining in a preferred restaurant.

…watching the news, television or a movie.

…you meet someone that resembles or acts similar.

…you do something new and adventurous that he or she would have loved doing.

When we remember our deceased loved one, we frequently remember what they loved doing and various experiences. Continuing bonds allows us to carry our memories forward into how we live and what we love today. May your memories be a blessing.

Job Opening: Intake Assistant

July 8, 2015

 

INTAKE ASSISTANT
Location: Cleveland, OH

Receive and inquire about referrals. Collect data pertaining to patient’s diagnosis and prognosis, history, family supports, insurance and treatment/service needs. Confirm appropriateness of referrals for Hospice care after conferring with Intake Coordinator. Ensure each referral is reviewed by RN with physician for diagnosis, prognosis confirmation, Admissions Orders, signature of death certificate, and if Medicare age, explanation of benefit.

Requirements: Medical Assistant preferred; High school graduate or equivalent; One to two years experience in medical office or health care agency preferred.

Click here to apply.

Volunteer Opportunities

Back to job listings

 

About Hospice of the Western Reserve

Hospice of the Western Reserve provides palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio.  In celebration of the individual worth of each life, we strive to relieve suffering, enhance comfort, promote quality of life, foster choice in end-of-life care and support effective grieving.

Job Opening: Bereavement Coordinator

July 8, 2015

BEREAVEMENT COORDINATOR
Location: Ames Family Hospice House, Westlake, OH

Provides bereavement follow up to the Hospice of the Western Reserve families after the death of a loved one.

RequirementsMaster’s degree in social work or counseling preferred or a bachelor’s degree in social work/counseling with at least 1 – 2 years experience in group work and counseling; Clinical experience or skills relevant to grief and loss; ability to problem solve, make decisions and plan programs.

Click here to apply.

Volunteer Opportunities

Back to job listings

About Hospice of the Western Reserve

Hospice of the Western Reserve provides palliative end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio.  In celebration of the individual worth of each life, we strive to relieve suffering, enhance comfort, promote quality of life, foster choice in end-of-life care and support effective grieving.

Corporate College Teams Up to Build Bikes for Pediatric Patient, Sister

July 1, 2015

Bike Building Photo 2It’s an extra special summer for two siblings thanks to a collaboration with Corporate College and a grant that resulted in one of our pediatric patients, and his sister, getting brand new bikes.

When Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer Michele Seyranian learned through Jody Wheaton, Executive Director, Client Solutions and Program Management at Corporate College, that attendees were building bikes as part of the Bike for a Tyke corporate team building exercise, she immediately thought of our pediatric patients.

The Bike for a Tyke Assembly program requires a team to build child’s bicycle, customize it to meet the child’s wishes and donate it to a nonprofit agency for distribution to that child. The exercise helps participants practice team communication, problem-solving and t leadership skBike Building Photo 4ills.

Seyranian suggested one of the bikes could go to the family of a pediatric palliative care patient, and helped assemble a bike with the corporate team.  She contacted Mary Kay Tyler, Director Pediatrics and Clinical Support Teams, to find a child who needed a bike.

Pediatric RN Preceptor Ashely Ison was working with a family with two children:  Isaac, who is being treated for cancer, and his younger sister, Audrey. Corporate College funded and provided a bike for Audrey, while the pediatric team used funds from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation grant to have a bike built for Isaac, who is now holding his own and receiving palliative care.  The two bikes were presented together.

The family, which includes Isaac’s twin  was especially appreciative both of the children were included. “The kids were ecstatic,” Ashley said. “They had no idea they were getting bikes. They were presented at the beginning of spring and immediately went for a ride.”