Grief is a process, and it has specific stages. Some people will experience all five quickly, others will skip stages completely, while still others will take years to move through each stage. The important part of grief is to remember that every person handles these stages differently, and every person’s method is a process. One person may reach acceptance faster than another; patience and understanding is essential, especially in the case of hospice care and death.
The first reaction to an impending death is denial, which is why some family members may not want to discuss hospice care. The family member may even fantasize about a fake reality, where the loved one never dies or does not need hospice care. This stage might take an extended amount of time to move through, so the hospice care discussion should be started early.
Anger is the next step in the process, because the denial can no longer continue. The family member, or even the person dying, could become angry for no reason. This anger is due to frustration because the situation cannot be changed. People often ask, “Why me?” and state that this isn’t fair. People look for someone to blame and often overreact to things which were previously fine.
This stage involves a sometimes unreasonable hope that grief can be avoided. A family member might say, “Take me instead” or the dying person might pray to a deity to be allowed to live just a little longer. Sometimes, people will try to bargain with an agency or doctor to extend the life of a loved one just a little longer.
In this stage, the sadness begins, and the person will react as a depressed person reacts. Many people may give up if they are dying, or family members will begin to show signs, such as forgetting to eat or complete beloved hobbies. This stage may require medical intervention for both the person dying and the family members.
The final stage of grief is acceptance. While the person will be missed, eventually the family will need to accept the passing. The person dying will need to accept the fact that death is a part of life. Some people in hospice care never reach this stage of grief, and pass away in one of the other stages. It is important for the survivors to work toward this stage and continue with life.
The Vancouver Home Health Care Agency will help your family find counselors who can help with the stages of grief, for both the hospice patient and the family.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.
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