From grief to healing

Bereavement resources are available for patients, staff and the community

As health care professionals, many of us regularly deal with loss — we see family members of patients grieve and can experience our own sadness as well, both professionally and personally.

Grief is normal, healthy and essential for your well-being. It’s a tool your mind and body use to heal and recover from loss. But there’s no need to go through the process alone: Help is available.

UF Health Shands offers bereavement support through monthly grief workshops and quarterly emails that help grievers journey through the healing process.

The workshops are free and led by UF Health staff trained in grief and bereavement. Experts from local hospices also provide support. The classes are open-ended and informal, which allow them to flex and mold to the unique needs of attendees. Participants can ask questions, seek verbal and emotional support, share their experiences or simply listen.

The grief classes are open to all: staff, community members, patients and their family members.

“When you’re grieving, even simple things become hard,” said Cathy Silloway, LCSW, ACHP-SW, a UF Health Shands Patient and Family Resources palliative care social worker who is spearheading the bereavement efforts. “My hope is that after a patient passes away our staff will share with the family members the resources available to them. We’re truly here to help them through the process.”

Staff and family members of patients can also sign up for emails with bereavement literature. Topics include remembering loved ones on holidays, responses to loss, moving forward and steps to take during the healing process.

“There are many healthy ways we find to grieve and everyone’s journey is different,” said Silloway. “These resources are here as a support system for those dealing with life after loss. They need to know they’re not alone.”

Grief workshops take place from 3 to 4 p.m. the first Thursday of every month at UF Health Shands Hospital (north campus), Room 6433.

UF Health also sponsors community grief workshops with Haven Hospice, which are open to all and require no preregistration. They are offered at 10 a.m. the second Monday of each month at the Senior Recreation Center on Northwest 34th Street.