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Barriers related to COVID-19 make grieving process more difficult to navigate

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Losing a loved one is difficult enough but because of COVID-19 many people haven’t been able to be with their loved ones during those final hours. It has created new challenges for organizations like HospiceCare when it comes to helping people process their grief.

“One of the things we say here at Hospice is ‘grief shared is grief diminshed’ and that is really important at this time,” said HospiceCare CEO Chris Rawlings.

The organization is no stranger to helping families process grief after the loss of a loved one. But COVID-19 has made the experience even more challenging.

“COVID-19 is a very isolating event. With social distancing and keeping people isolated,” said Mike Dupay, Director of Bereavement and Spiritual Care at HospiceCare. “So during the grieving process when you are isolated already that is not the most ideal situation to be in. So COVID-19 is isolating upon isolating.”

With hospitals and nursing homes closed to visitors many families have been denied that contact with their loved ones as they pass.

“If they are able to be with that patient as they are dying they can actually speak to them hold their hand tell them that they love them,” Dupay said. “If you are not able to do that, that can definitely interrupt the grieving process. And it is often times difficult to work through because we are robbed of that experience, robbed of that last intimate experience of being with your loved one as they are passing away.”

He said the main thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone.

“The best way to help people through this is to love them through this experience by offering support, validating their feelings, validating and acknowledging that this is difficult and just offering the services here at Hospice,” Dupay said.

Counseling and grief support are available through HospiceCare for the community at large even if the patient wasn’t part of one of their programs. You can contact them to get signed up for any of the grief services by clicking here.

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