A labor and delivery registered nurse (RN), Chamel Thompson also works with Emerging Beyond, an organization that supports people after they’ve lost a loved one. Thompson recently spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley at the Association of Death Education and Counseling conference in San Antonio, Texas about her work and what Emerging Beyond offers to those in grief. Generally, Thompson has found that being there and supporting those during their bereavement period is critical, but it’s often impossible to stay with them as long as necessary. What we need is “continuity of care,” explains Thompson, and that’s exactly what organizations like Emerging Beyond offer.
“Having that support that’s there to follow the patients after discharge to make sure they are going through the process well” can set a solid foundation for healing and healthy grieving. The biggest need Thompson sees post-discharge is that “emotional support piece.” Many people don’t know how to best handle their own grief, and those around them aren’t sure what to do—especially after a few weeks, months or even years. “Even though they say, ‘Yeah, I’m okay. I’m alright,’ deep inside they’re not,” says Thompson.
A Supportive Network
“They were coming to the hospital expecting to go home with a baby in their arms, and now they’re going home with nothing,” says Thompson. For first time parents, this can be especially jarring, although it’s devastating for any parent. Losing a child is never easy, and is a very unique situation. “Also, supporting the dad and the siblings” is important, because many times the focus is on the patient—the mother.
“We travel nationwide to wherever we are needed,” says Thompson. Emerging Beyond works with hospitals and care facilities around the country, ensuring proper grief counseling for grieving families when, where and how it’s most needed.