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Supporting individual experiencing loss & grief

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Grief is a natural feeling to loss. Throughout our life we will all experience some form of loss whether it be the loss of a loved one to something as simple as losing your phone or your keys. Two triggers of grief associated with death

The death of a loved one can be the most common form of grief; throughout life most people will experience this type of loss. The loss of a loved one can trigger grief such as depression, anger and fear. The person lost could have been a big influence in the life of the bereaved offering them love and security but now that the person has gone they may feel a sense of insecurity like how will I pay the bill or who’s going to cook tea as the person who has gone may have been the main source of financial income for the family and who would do most of the cooking and household chores, and loneliness having the suffered the loss of a companion or a lifelong friend that you would talk to and see almost every day.

The death of a pet can also become an upsetting and sad time, even though the pet is not human it will have become a big part of the family. It can be particular hard for the younger members of the family as they would have loved having the pet about the home. This could be a child’s first experience of death and they could feel angry and blame themselves or their parents for not taking care of the family pet. It can be very hard for adults who live alone as well as they see their pet as there only companion the death of the pet could bring back memories of losses they may have suffered in the past they may feel angry that when they love someone or something they seem to die leaving them alone again. Two triggers associated not associated with death

Grief is not only caused by death it can also be a big factor in the life of a person who loses a limb, sight or hearing. This can may an impact on the person’s life and can leave them feeling insecure and vulnerable. The loss of sight can leave a person feeling angry thinking to themselves why me, it can also make the person become very depressed as they feel they can no longer do the same as they have in the past and sense a lack of self worth. The loss of a limb can have a big effect on a person. Losing a limb can impact on a person’s body image leaving them feeling self-conscious about their body image. This could make the person feel isolated from others as they may not be able to do the same stuff other do.

Two models of grief
Elizabeth kublar-Ross researched the process of grief over a 4 year period by interviewing terminally ill patients she worked with and after researching this she came up the model that there were 5 stages of grief and that everyone went through these stages in this order.

1, denial and isolation is where the person can try to block out that there is something wrong or face up to the facts. Isolation can occur when friends and family ovoid the person as they can say or do for the person.
2, anger with others around them such as doctor, nurses or family members. They may envy others who they think deserve to die more than them.
3, bargaining is the hardest stage to explain as this normally takes place between the patient and god. They may plead with god for forgiveness and that it he lets them live they will do things differently
4, depression can be things such as sadness and dejection which can be a reaction to losses in the past or known losses still to be experienced
5, acceptance, is not a happy stage a can take a long time to reach. Patients who fight on right till the end will not experience this stage.

In all these stages of grief hope is a big aspect as it can help patient come through difficult times.

William worden moved away from stages of grief and proposed that 4 task must be concluded to resolve issues of grief. 1, accept the reality of the loss, The news of a death can come as a shock to the bereaved, but by helping with funeral arrangements can help the bereaved move towards the reality that the person the person has gone. 2, work through pain and grief, you have to work through these feelings as trying to ignore them will result in them not going away but instead being stored away in your memory and can appear later on in life 3, adjusting to an environment in which the deceased is missing, coming to term with living on your own now that the deceased has gone, maybe taken on new roles like paying the bills of making the tea all the things the deceased done before they died. 4, to emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life, this is the task where the bereaved must accept that they need to move on and maybe find a new hobbies or search for new experiences in life. Now there will still be some sort of connection with the deceased but at a different level to it was before. This task could take some time for people to complete.

Complex grief is a long lasting experience of grief which can take hold of the mind making the person feel stuck at one stage. This can often be down to problems that have not been resolved between the bereaved and the deceased. Kublar-Ross says that everyone should work through these stages but others may get stuck in one stage or go back the stages if something in their mind won’t let them move on and let go. This complex grief can be triggered by the birthday of the deceased or memorable dates such as Christmas of an anniversary. Worden said there are many reasons for complex grief. These reasons can include:

Multiple deaths in a short period of time
The persons grieving history
Keeping the person’s body in the house
Taken drugs to numb the pain.
Procedures in 2 care settings following death

When someone dies there are certain procedures that need to take place. These procedures can be different depending on where the death has taken place. If the death takes place in a hospital the next of kin will have to be contacted so they can formally identify the body and give consent for a post –mortem if one is required. The body will then be kept in the mortuary until funeral arrangement can be made and therefore will be collected by the funeral directors. At the hospital the doctor will provide the next of kin with a copy of the death certificate which will have the cause of death of the deceased on it. The doctor will also provide the person with information on how to register the death. If the deceased is to be cremated the death certificate will require the signature of two doctors to prove the body has been examined on the other hand if the death get put to a coroner no death certificate will be handed over and the will not be able to get registered until a full coroner report is issued.

If there is a death in a care home depending on the circumstances things will be done differently. If for instance it is an unexpected death the police and ambulance must be called and you must not touch anything in the room the room. If the death had been expected due to a look illness of natural causes, you must contact the doctor and the next of kin of the deceased and he will issue you with a document to register the death if the cause of death is known. However if the death is unexpected or suspicious the body will be passed over the coroner so they can carry out a post- mortem to establish the cause of death once this is done then they will provide you with a document to register the death.

Agencies and techniques to support people through loss and grief There are many agencies out there that provide a service to those suffering grief, offering support through one to one advice, telephone advice, online chat and leaflets. Age concern Scotland is a voluntary organisation that has a wide range of support and information to support those dealing with death. They are there to give helpful and accurate information on what to do when someone dies. Age concerns also provide assistance on how to put affairs in order.

Bereavement care Scotland offer one to one counselling sessions with one of their highly trained volunteers but if you would prefer not to sit with someone face to face you can use their internet advice centre or national phone helpline where they will offer you the highest standard of support they possibly can. The Murray foundation was founded in 1996 by Sir David Murray in 1996 and provides support to those affected by the limb loss. The service provides support groups so people can talk with others who are experiencing the same loss as them. There is also one to one counselling where you can chat to an experienced counsellor to get help and advice on getting over your loss. This service also offers a DVD, leaflet and fact sheet to provide new members with they are beginning the rehabilitation process.

Grief process through different cultures
Death is one of life’s natural processes and all cultures and religions have different ways in which they deal with death. In social care it is important that we have an understanding of how different cultures and religions deal with death.

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