How can workers within end-of-life settings support themselves in dealing with their own matters of bereavement? Is it possible for them to enlist help of others or are their needs held in second place? What can you do to help?

Burnout can arise both with paid and unpaid workers in this field. They can find themselves facing and tackling their personal family bereaved situations outside of work. Bereavement is loss, not just death. “ Loosing” a patient upon patient can bring one to a tipping point. Connection and disconnection is continually happening in the workplace for them. Now add changing situations in their personal family environment.

Think of the healthcare worker who has been injured and must move onto another career. Imagine the healthcare worker whose own parents are now needing extra assistance or the worker whose son is in an addictive situation and requiring extra physical and monetary resources.

Working with the hospice field or bereavement field is gratifying. It takes a very special individual to uplift others in many ways during major changes in outlook and health. These individuals use their gifts in creating moment by moment soothing and comforting environments for others.

What gifts can others bestow on these workers in their times of bereavement or loss? Most of them know the tools that work, but what can we as a community do and remember, to smooth their own personal journeys.

1. Remember that is often difficult for a caregiver to receive. Perhaps “ bartering” for what their present need is may be a resolution and help.

2. Remember that even though they may cognitively know what grief looks like, feeling it may be another matter. Be a good listener and be available physically.

3. Remember that what looks like respite to you may be different for them. Taking care of others might not hinder their progress, but sneak in some time for a personal massage for them, an evening meal delivered or even a new robe and slippers during their down time to restore.

4. Remember that acknowledging caretakers, not simply during crisis or loss, can be lifeline to uphold them during their own bereavement times. We expect caretakers to be able to handle everything. We believe they are stoic, but stoic for us with a big heart. A card, a simple flower, a wink to tell them you have this one and their cup of coffee is on the table in the break room could be their vitamin of the day.

Begin your day with gratitude for others that help and then find a way to let them know. Kindness grows and grief lessons with watering “ Thank You’s”

Susan Reynolds

Susan W. Reynolds developed her innovative system by combining interior redesign principles with grief recovery methods. Susan is a member of the Association of Design Education and a Certified Physical Therapist. Her training in wellness and ergonomics has given her sensitive insights into the needs of people in grief. She is a consultant to hospices on how interior design can help clients feel comfortable and safe. She speaks at bereavement groups to teach her methods to people who have suffered loss. She helps those in grief visualize how small changes in their surroundings can result in big changes in attitude. After her husband died of cancer after a difficult two-year battle, Susan participated in traditional grief groups. She found that a practical approach worked best for her. She uses her blog, "Room for Change", to present her ideas about the role of ergonomics in grief recovery. The book version of her system reflects input from bereavement coordinators and other specialists in the field of death and dying. Her company, Revival Redesign helps people refresh and enliven their personal space using items they already own and love.

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