Support Services

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Grief Support Services

CareFirst Grief Services are available for up to 13 months following a loss, and are offered completely free of charge. If you or a loved one are experiencing grief issues, you may find solace in our grief support services, which include:

Grief Support for Children and Teens
Advice for parents supporting their children, and a variety of events geared to the needs of children and teens.

Individual Counseling
Our Grief Counselors can meet one-on-one with individuals to provide support and guidance in coping with the grief process and understanding grief responses.

Support Groups
Grief seems to heal best when you share it with others. CareFirst provides a variety of support groups that are open to any member of the community. Our groups are designed to offer companionship, memory sharing, and support.

CareFirst invites all individuals who have experienced a death to participate in the support groups whether or not the loved one was a patient of CareFirst.

Memorial Services
An opportunity to remember and honor loved ones, and share stories with others who are grieving.

Grief Resource Program for Schools
We offer a grief resource program with the goal of managing, serving, and promoting the awareness of child grief; to educate school staff to identify and support the grieving student; and to encourage and facilitate the involvement of as many schools as possible in grief support efforts.

What is the Grief Resource Program?
The Grief Resource Program is a partnership with the school system and each specific school. The Grief Resource Program consists of at least two staff members from each school who have voluntarily received training as grief resource specialists and who provide onsite support. The grief resource specialists may include counselors, librarians, school nurses, teachers, support staff and so on. The school employees are the ones that will do the work, hospice staff/volunteers provide planning, training, and organization.

What training is provided?                                             
Training manuals will be provided to each participating school and will include a manual to educate on the normal developmental grief reactions of children and also a manual on activities or projects to do in the classroom or grief group. A user-friendly parent brochure will be offered to provide a brief overview of grief and how to support a child experiencing grief. In addition to these resources, each school will also have a bereavement registry which includes a collection of community resources specifically relating to grief.

What is important to know?
Loss is a universal process that includes more then the act of death. A child is often overlooked because many times we generalize the thought that what we may need from others is also what the child needs. It is not uncommon for others to question what to say to a child who has just experienced a loss for a fear that “we might bring something up” and therefore we say nothing at all. This behavior makes the child feel alienated and alone and unworthy of support. It is also not uncommon for some grief reactions to appear in normal behaviors of a child at any developmental level and therefore the manuals allow for basic ways to assist in identifying grief and how to support the child who is experiencing grief.

What is the ultimate goal of CareFirst’s Grief Resource Program?
The goal of the program is to enhance student achievement through a caring and supportive community in which the child feels safe to talk about his/her grief and individuals feel prepared to support the child and offer tools for the child to use in the future. The program seeks to use natural support systems from within the school to including faculty and staff the student already knows and trusts. This fosters a supportive opportunity for the student to work through the normal grief process that impacts all of us.