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Topic: The Princess Leia of Serenity Hospice:
Giving Voice to the Bereaved and Bereavement
Bereavement may be defined as the entire experience of family members and friends in the anticipation, death, and subsequent adjustment to living following the death of a loved one (Christ et al 2003 p554). It is such occurrences that necessitate the development of bereavement care services through social care organizations or through voluntary organizations with the aim of assisting the family and friends adjust to living following bereavement. Therefore bereavement care should be aimed at assisting the said family members to adjust their physical psychological, sociological, spiritual and cultural aspects of life as well as economic life.
Support groups are always created and managed by its own members who are usually volunteers. The members do have experience on the in the subject matters that the group engage in. (Grohol, John M. May 2004). It’s apparent that sudden, traumatic loss of any loved one may have serious psychological after-effects, such as an existential crisis,complicated grief reactions, and difficulties with social functioning (Cleiren& Diekstra, 1995; Dijkstra, 2000; Dyregrov & Dyregrov, 1999; Dyregrov et al.,2003; Janoff-Bulman & Berge, 1998; Range, 1998). These support services do cover a wide range of people and the groups do offer compassion especially to parents who lose their children.
My research work seeks to find answers to several concerns and issues that arise in volunteer organizations. My focus being Serenity Hospitice an organization which offers social support to bereaved individuals. The research work will be concerned with addressing six major issues. Through this research work I will be able to know how the staff and volunteers at Serenity Hospitice communicate social support to the bereaved individuals. In this regard I will be able to assess how the bereavement coordinator manages to communicate support services to the bereaved individuals. Do they use call services, cards, group meetings and memorial services to follow up on how their patients fair on with their services. Since the organization deals with people who have lost their loved ones, the discussions which elicit a lot of emotions and therefore I will also try to look into how emotions influence the organization’s goal of offering social support and also how emotions affect the communication link. Are there any bereavement support group meetings? And if so how is social support communicated through these meetings? Emotions are key to the aspect of bereavement care especially when dealing with women have lost their children or even in trying to explain or inform a child about the death of his or her parents.
I will also look into the organization structure of the support group to know how it works to facilitate the group’s main objective of offering bereavement support.
Serenity Hospitice support group located in Arizona allowed volunteers from different parts of the country to come assist them offer their support services and therefore this day I decided to go work as a volunteer and during that time I would be able to conduct my research therefore travelled from San Diego to come for the volunteer work. Having volunteered to work on several previous occasions, time it would be different. I had to be keen on all I was doing in order to be able to accomplish the two missions I had. That was to offer my voluntary service to them as I had done previously and also to be able to keep records of all my research work objectives with the same organization.
I arrived at the bereavement office and signed in at the front desk and headed straight towards the bereavement coordinator’s office was. It was office number three occupied by Ann Kennedy. The role of the coordinator was to manage program planning, coordination, and quality monitoring to ensure that all people who had lost their loved ones got a compassionate bereavement care. This was according to me. Was this the case with Ann Kennedy the bereavement coordinator at Serenity Hospitice support group? This was one of the questions I needed to find answers to. The organization also had a volunteer coordinator’s office which was occupied by Jullie. There were four offices in the organization the front office included. Each of the offices had a role to place in order to ensure that the support services they provided were successful. The front office had an assistant. This was the first place anyone who got into the organization had to pass through. It therefore presented the first image of the company and the occupant had to be friendly and welcoming. Unfortunately the assistant occupying the office wasn’t that welcoming in all the occasions I had been there. Could this affect the organization’s operations and objectives? How was the assistant dealing with and welcoming the bereaved family members who at different times came to seek support services? Was she cold to them as she was to me on different occasions I had come to offer voluntary service to the organization? If this was the case then even any person willing to volunteer would not come as this attitude was bound to drive them away. To me the front office being one important part of the organization structures should always strive to attract clients especially in this case where the class of individuals were people who in one way or another needed some guidance and counseling. The bereavement coordinator’s office was tasked making calls to the bereaved people to assess how they were copping up with the loss. The coordinator made calls to different people and friends who lost their loved ones or they also sent mails to the said people. The bereavement coordinator kept records of in folders. The files had names of the deceased persons and also the name and telephone of their family members or friends. So the coordinator would call the family members of the deceased to know how they were doing and then write the same on the folders of bereavement records. The bereavement coordinator also had different books and notes which they could use as guidelines in advising the family members on how to handle the loss. These were sent through mails but only if the contacted persons were willing to receive them. These books included ;Water-Bugs & Dragonflies: Explaining Death to Young Children and The Handbook of Companioning .............
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