Incorporating bereavement counseling into the hospice services addresses the unique needs of area residents who have experienced losses due to accident, homicide, natural disaster, suicide, terrorism and war, as well as those whose loved ones have died in the line of duty, according to Kimberly Beck-Frate, EdD, LMHC, Traumatic Loss Counselor for the Halifax Health – Hospice Traumatic Loss Program.
“There’s a different bereavement process associated with trauma, because people haven’t had a chance to prepare themselves,” Beck-Frate says. “We started the program to add a specialized support model to help the bereaved people of the area.”
Clearing the path to healing begins with cultivating a protective atmosphere where licensed therapists, counselors and social workers help people cope with traumatic loss and its accompanying grief. Beck-Frate says this begins upon arrival to the facility.
“We immediately stabilize bereaved patients and make them feel safe,” Beck-Frate explains. “Our Traumatic Loss Program is located within a beautiful facility. Its design emphasizes safety, comfort and support. We address their traumatic issues — for example, they may have witnessed the event or discovered their loved one’s body — as well as underlying grief issues.”
Helping Kids Cope
Halifax Health – Hospice further specializes in pediatric bereavement care with their unique BeginAgain Children’s Grief Centers.
“We are the only bereavement program in Volusia County that has a children’s grief center,” Beck-Frate says. “We offer children between the ages of 4 and 18 group and individual counseling, but we’ve found children tend to do better in a group setting. While the children are here, their parents or the adult responsible for bringing them has the option of attending a group counseling session as well.”
Additionally, children have opportunities to participate in the Hearts and Hooves program — a therapeutic
program designed to allow children, as well as adults, work through their grief through equine-based activities — and Camp BeginAgain, a biannual weekend retreat where grieving children ages 6 to 18 come together to participate in fun activities, such as canoeing and arts and crafts, as well as a special memorial service.
A Specialized Tool
Providers at Halifax Health – Hospice offer a unique skillset available to people struggling to cope after the sudden loss of a loved one. Physicians may not have the time to help grieving patients, so a simple phone call referral can initiate the path to healing.
“It’s hard to open conversations with people about a loved one’s impending or recent death,” Beck-Frate notes. “Being aware of the support we provide and accessing it as needed for patients can help in their journeys of grieving.”
To refer a patient to Halifax Health – Hospice for bereavement counseling or for more information, please call 386.425.2285.