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Understanding the Stages of Grief in Private Nurse Home Care

In home care services

Private nurse home care can come with its challenges, especially when providing home care for seniors. The biggest challenge can be knowing, recognizing, and walking through the five stages of grief with your patients and their families. These stages can be experienced due to the loss of a person, an experience, or an ability.

The grief may manifest differently depending on the person and the type of loss, but the stages will remain the same. Some may be longer, and some may be shorter. Everyone is different, but the grief is still accurate, painful, and challenging to navigate, no matter who you are. Grief does not discriminate. Grief will happen to everyone.

So, what are the stages of grief, and what do we need to know about each of them?

1. Denial

The first stage of grief, denial, is when your brain almost recognizes that the loss has happened. You try to talk yourself out of the loss, maybe convince yourself that it was a bad dream. This is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from the pain. It is the body’s way of allowing you to process the pain in sections instead of suddenly feeling overwhelmed by all of the big emotions that loss can bring.

It can be challenging to comprehend all of the changes a loss can bring. Denial helps the brain come to terms with the loss and the new obstacles and life that will result.

2. Anger

Anger is an entirely normal emotion to experience after loss. It can serve as an emotional outlet as you adjust to your new reality and grieve what could have been.

As we work in our caregiver jobs, we must remember that anger is a part of the grieving process, and it is not meant to come across personally. Sometimes, anger can cause us to do or say things we would not normally do. During this stage, the best thing you can do to support the grieving person is to give them space to feel their emotions and validate them at the moment.

3. Bargaining

When experiencing grief, it is common for a person to feel so desperate that they feel willing to do anything to keep from experiencing the pain of the loss. This stage can stem from an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. Bargaining can give you a sense of control in an otherwise out-of-control situation.

4. Depression

Once we realize that bargaining is not an option and begin understanding that our loss is here to stay, we may become overtaken by deep feelings of sadness. These feelings are normal and expected after a loss. It is okay to allow the person you are working with to recognize and accept these feelings. However, it is also okay to watch the depression to ensure that it does not get out of hand. You will be in the best place to provide your patient and their families with a listening ear.

If you suspect that it may be getting out of hand or bag, the person could put themselves or others in danger; you will want to help them find a mental health professional to assist them further. The personal home care agency you work for, like TLC Homecare, will be able to guide you in recommendations.

5. Acceptance

Finally, once you have gone through all of the other stages, you will come to the point of acceptance. The pain does not go away, but your brain is no longer fighting to shield you from the pain. At this point, comfort is needed, and you will be in the perfect spot to provide that.

Grief and its many stages can strike at any time. The pain may never dull and will never go away, but the way a person learns to cope with it and grow with it is what will make or break them. Being by their side through the entire process puts you in a unique place to grow alongside them and provide any support they may need.

Private nurse home care is more than providing the physical aid a patient needs. You have the privilege of walking through the grief with the patient. At TLC Home Care, we will support you as you work to support your patients and their families. Give us a call today and see how we can help prepare you to support your patients and their families.