Grief support is an integral part of hospice care. A Medicare-certified hospice is required by regulation to provided grief support for up to one year after a patient’s death. However, the way in which this support is offered may vary greatly from one hospice to the next.

There are often phone calls and mailings telling you what to expect in your grief journey. Larger hospices may have grief counselors on staff and support for community at large. Smaller hospices may have a social worker managing grief support or may utilize specially-trained volunteers. Support groups are often hosted in the community.

It is important to ask your local hospice what grief support they provide. Sometimes a family is already grieving the loss of a loved-one when another family member becomes ill and needs hospice.

A grief counselor may be helpful to support the family with all the losses they are experiencing. So grief support can be offered at any time if needed— during hospice care or for those receiving palliative care.

Grief can also bring about the need for spiritual support. Hospices have chaplains who can support those who do not have support in their own faith community.

Children and teens often have special needs when they are grieving. Talk to your local hospice about the resources they have either within their hospice or in the community.

There are many bereavement camps for children in the summer around West Virginia. This may be a day long event or an overnight stay and children can process their grief through art therapy, play therapy, group therapy and audio-visual media. Being with others in their age group who are going through similar feelings can be very therapeutic.