Caregiving is a relational occupation. Our nurses, care companions, and other staff build meaningful relationships with the people they serve, and this helps them be better caregivers.
A challenge that comes with building relationships in the continuum of care is dealing with the loss of residents we have the privilege of knowing.
Resthaven equips our staff and residents with resources to handle grief and loss. Chaplain services also support residents who are grieving the loss of friends. They work with volunteer services to coordinate friendly visits, lead bible studies, coordinate hymn sings, and provide other outlets to process grief.
At the end of 2019, Leigh Van Kempen, our Director of Pastoral Care, coordinated a gathering to support staff members titled, “Taking Care of Yourself While Grieving.” Experts from Hospice of North Ottawa came to Resthaven for drop-in sessions to grieve the residents lost during 2019.
Leigh said, “We have had 38 people die at the Care Center since August 1. Our community is experiencing a lot of grief!”
For nurse Diana Brueker, she has 40 years of losing residents and has learned to love residents well while we have them. Diana knows it is important to make residents feel at home and special.
“We are with them so many hours a day. The residents really become like family.”
This makes it very difficult to lose a resident, and to share that grief with family. “I cry right along with them,” she said. “It’s a privilege to be able to care for their loved ones until their last breath.”
Diana gained a whole new empathy when her mom was at Boersma Cottage, ultimately her mom’s last home. “I was so thankful for all my mom’s caregivers, knowing she was being taken care of so well.”
Diana has found chaplain services and her unit managers to be wonderful resources in sharing grief.
Thank you to our families for trusting us to care for your loved ones until the end of their time on earth. It is our privilege to spend time with them.