How it began...
We knew there had to be a better way...
As hospice professionals, we know bereavement for the loved ones and family is required by Medicare for thirteen months after a patient's passing...but costs for these programs and services are not yet reimbursed.
So we start here with a conundrum and worked backwards...
How are the smaller to medium sized hospices to manage this cost effectively? Their volumes do not yet scale in order to dedicated resources to this necessary task. There are a lot of places that need attention when growing a business. To ignore doing proper bereavement may well show in your first or any ongoing Medicare audits. It is a popular place (we know...) for Medicare to assess strictly–even with relatively new hospices.
This is the challenge that confronted Rev. EM Hager when she fell in love with bereavement in 2014.
Not all chaplains do bereavement (or want to do it). Most are happy to concentrate on the needed and good work in spiritual care for the patients and their families. But the tender hand off to bereavement lacks consistency or an agreed upon best practices guidelines. Very large hospices (say with a census of more than 200) commonly have dedicated psycho-social bereavement departments because with a census like that you can scale pro-bono services a lot easier. In California, only a few integrated, and wholistic programs include the psycho-spiritual in any way (...but really bad poetry).
Garden of Change® Bereavement Program takes the editorial opinion that a BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL-SPIRITUAL approach is stronger together: body, mind and spirit. All articles, each year, are from that perspective-the best new research, tried and true practices which work, and references to our God, our Higher Power, Spirit as a unifying force for love and healing.
Everyone, every religion has their name for that, him, her, or non-dual entity, our higher power, the Holy One of Many Names–God. We take no position on what your best name is for The Divine. But we believe that the sacred, as a power, is essential, or at least useful, to the bereavement journey of reconciliation.
All hospices are required to do proper bereavement, as they should.
People who have lost a loved one are hurting, and it is important to support them with a program that is well-made, and proactive. Yet it can still be cost effective. Garden of Change serves these medium to smaller hospices who want to have a respectable and reliable programs.
If you get the metaphor, an acceptable MCoP bereavement program can be a trustworthy Toyota, or Honda...or VW. Medicare does not require that you have a snazzy Mercedes race car.
The good news is that grief is normal; it is not commonly an illness.
Like death, every human being who has ever lived and loved has done it, or will do it. There is a lot of human wisdom, literature, and liturgy to support us here. Healing does not usually need therapy, but it does need a companion. Garden of Change® aligns with the well-established and accepted approach of Dr. Alan Wolfelt who has termed the idea of "companioning" the bereaved to the other side. The best support allows them to lead us–not the other way around. We can reinforce and support their existing coping skills and community with a well placed kind ear of the friend who is still available to accompany them without judgement. Loss and the recovery is part of our human life cycle. We need each other...but many of us do not have these kinds of caring communities.
Garden of Change® literature suggests ways to get back into community, new ways to cope, and get to that new normal by feeling what needs to be felt. It is the quickest way out... in a place with no freeways.
Our modern culture rarely supports this and (unhelpfully) suggests that people just get over it.
This is not the way grief works. We must give it its time, because we have given love its time. Grief is the backside of love.
Garden of Change® will continue to grow as a bio-psycho-spiritual clinical Pro community.
When you sign your company up for a yearly subscription, our virtual community and network of doctors, nurses, social workers and chaplains become resources who are open to your staff's questions and issues as they arise–monthly. We welcome them into the care of those who think and write about grief as a garden, where your staff member can continue to hone their skills (as gardeners, perhaps) growing a new lives for themselves and the bereaved in their care.
Grief is not an illness, it is winter on bare earth.
For more about Rev. EM Hagers Books and Caregiver Grief Support, please link to her book website www.EMHager.com