The palliative care program acknowledges that advanced illness and death are significant events in people’s lives for which psychosocial, spiritual and bereavement supports are necessary. In some situations, due to complex family dynamics, mental illness and other circumstances related to family cohesion, decision-making and/or loss of meaning and hope, these supports are best delivered by skilled professionals who are sensitive to personal, cultural and spiritual/religious beliefs, values and practices.
The Psychosocial, Spiritual, Bereavement Clinician is concerned with the psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being of the persons who are dying, their partners and their families, as they deal with issues of self-esteem, adaptation to the illness and its consequences, social functioning and relationships, communication, grieving and spiritual suffering. Often, there is also a need for support with the necessary practical aspects of end-of-life decision making. The Psychosocial, Spiritual, Bereavement Clinician can provide a wide range of interventions including individual, couple and family counseling, advocacy, education, access to community supports, and spiritual companioning. The Psychosocial, Spiritual, Bereavement clinician will provide bereavement support and care for family caregivers whose loved one has died.
The Palliative Care Team recognizes that faith based support is important element of whole person care in palliation. Sometimes, the dying person and/or their loved ones have their needs, questions or concerns of a religious nature. These might include the need for religious rituals and practices including prayer and sacraments. Or, they may feel a need to reconnect with a faith community or find a new one. In such situations, the Community Faith Partner can provide the necessary skills.
The Palliative Care Team works within a shared care model with family physicians, community nursing agencies, hospital and hospice staff and community volunteers, providing that shared expertise and resources make for a more effective and efficient workforce.
This mutually beneficial partnership best serves patients and their loved ones, meeting their needs in a timely fashion, enhancing communication between all sectors of care and the patient and loved ones, broadening and strengthening the knowledge base of all involved and reducing costs.
It is within this model of shared care, and as a vital part of the Palliative Care Team, that the Psychosocial, Spiritual, Bereavement Clinician is able to meet the needs of patients and their loved ones.