The end of life is a difficult time for the family members and loved ones helping the patient through the last phase of life. In the midst of their grief, arrangements must be made to honor the person who has died, including funeral details. A new joint effort between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) will focus on bringing hospice professionals and funeral directors together to work collaboratively on helping families through this process.
Hospice professionals are skilled in providing pain management and addressing the psychological, social and spiritual needs of not only the patient, but their loved ones as well. That care continues into the bereavement process. Memorial services and funerals are often an important part of that process, and funeral directors play a critical role in ensuring that those services reflect the life that is being honored and are meaningful to family members and loved ones.
Often, hospice workers develop close bonds with the families they care for and are relied upon for guidance and advice following the death of their loved one. Funeral directors are trained and experienced in the many options available to families and are there to work with families to help them commemorate the life of their loved one in a meaningful way. By working together, hospices and funeral homes can share their expertise and assist families through this emotional process.
“There are many examples of hospices working closely with funeral homes in their area to ease the difficulty of planning for the emotional time that follows the death of a loved one. With this collaboration, we will work together with NFDA to spread those relationships,” said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of NHPCO.
“Each of our professions brings a unique perspective to serving the dying, those who have died, and the bereaved. We look forward to developing materials and tools with NHPCO to share our experiences and expertise. The families we care for will benefit by two organizations focused on end-of-life care working hand-in-hand to ease the transition,” said Robert “Bob” T. Rosson, CFSP, CPC, NFDA president.
The collaboration between NHPCO and NFDA will begin by opening the lines of communication between hospices and funeral homes. By sharing educational materials and resources, hospice and funeral service professionals will learn more about the areas of expertise each bring to the table. Future plans for collaboration include presenting educational tools at the professional conferences of each organization, and eventually developing information directed toward consumers.