Talking about grief as we know is a difficult conversation but one that we all will have to do at some time in our lives.
Even when we are told that death is inevitable when it does happen it can be a shock and often catches us unaware. To quote “I know he was dying but I didn’t think it would happen like this and so soon” a wife who lost her partner of 25 years from cancer.
As a team of Palliative Care Social Workers, we support families/ significant others to understand the various tasks that must be conducted when someone dies such as accessing benefits, Bereavement Support Payments, funeral directors, Liaison with Housing Departments, gas and electricity suppliers on our patient’s behalf.
Grief is normal but can be a painful process too. A bereaved person told me that “it’s like a roller coaster, you go up and down, you cry and laugh at the same time you feel relieved, sad and lonely, I feel guilty, maybe I could have done more”
As social workers and counsellors we offer the space to listen to the Bereaved family members who requests our support be it emotional or practical assistance.
We try not to intervene too early because we recognize that Bereavement counselling must be when the patient feels ready. There are individuals who we asses as vulnerable and at risk, for those people we will provide immediate Bereavement support or refer on to the appropriate agencies. Our referrals are from the hospice multi-disciplinary team.
Pembridge Social Work Team