While Alberni Valley Hospice Society is well known in the community for its residential palliative care services at Ty Watson House, a significant part of their work involves helping people throughout grief and bereavement.
“Grief is intricately woven into palliative care – whether it’s an individual facing a life-limiting illness or those who care about them, we are here to help,” explains Bereavement Counsellor Marianne Bauml-Murray.
Most people are not aware that palliative care services begin when a life-limiting diagnosis is first given and well before residential hospice care is required. “A significant part of what we do at hospice is help individuals know what to expect and how to cope with the many challenges that a life-limiting illness can bring.We offer reassurance they are not alone, that we are here to support them and those close to them to live life to the fullest throughout their journey.
As for counselling services for spouses, caregivers and others who are bereaving the loss of a loved one, “it’s important to recognize that grief is not finite, it’s a life-long journey” – this is a message that’s important for someone who is grieving.
Often, friends and family members find it hard to help someone experiencing a loss, Bauml-Murray acknowledges, and adds that it’s not about forgetting about a loved one, or moving on, but about managing and adapting to the loss.
“Loss will be unique to every person but there are things we have learned that people have in common,” she says. “People can really benefit from knowing that what they’re going through is a natural response to loss.” That in itself can be comforting.
Help for those experiencing loss
All programs offered by the Alberni Valley Hospice Societyare available to adult residents in the Alberni Valley and surrounding area – loved ones needn’t use the residential hospice care services at Ty Watson House in order for them to receive individual counselling or spouses and caregivers to receive bereavement support.
In the future, hospice hopes to add new programs to provide counselling for children, youth and families.
Existing programs include:
- Individual Counselling / Anticipatory Grief Support– For a person diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, they are here to help you to find ways to cope in a healthy way with feelings such as sadness, fear, anger and loneliness.Connecting with hospice early on is not about giving up hope but about exploring ways to live life to the fullest throughout your journey.
- Individual Bereavement Counselling – For those grieving a loss, a Hospice counsellor can help you to understand grief and find ways to help you to ease the pain of your loss, to cope in healthy ways. In addition to individual counselling, telephone support from a trained volunteer may also be available to you. Currently these services are provided via telephone or video calls.
- Grief & Bereavement Support Group – Structured, hospice facilitator-led group sessions provide information and peer support for adults who are grieving the death of a loved one, family member or friend.
- Walk & Talk Group – Informal bereavement support combining the therapeuticbenefits of stress-relieving exercise and companionship. Meet to talk, walk and share with a hospice facilitator and with others who are grieving.
For those requiring specialized support services, hospice can redirect you an agency within their network that can best serve individual needs.
To learn more or to access about Alberni Valley Hospice, and its grief support services for adults, visit albernihospice.ca or call