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A closer look at Parkview’s Bereavement program

Last Modified: February 19, 2023

Family Medicine, Community


Grief is a natural emotional response that we all experience, but, at times, it can be extremely overwhelming and difficult to navigate. Cathy Petrie, LCSW, hospice bereavement counselor, Parkview Home Health and Hospice, and Tim O’Sullivan, MA, chaplain, Parkview Health, share the details of Parkview’s Bereavement program and how it could benefit those walking through the loss of a loved one.

What it is

Parkview Home Health and Hospice provides a free follow-up care and bereavement program to the loved ones of patients or anyone who's experienced a loss in or out of the Parkview health system. This unique program focuses on the various losses following the death of a person's physical life and building their relationship with the absent loved one. We do this by offering support and guidance to anyone navigating the grieving process and taking steps to connect them with appropriate resources if needed.

Our team utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to assist caregivers and families as they effectively learn how to address and cope with their loved one's death. We do this by offering hope and comfort through a variety of grief and bereavement support services.

How it works

All loved ones, family and friends of an individual who was served by our hospice and palliative care teams automatically get enrolled in this program. However, community members who have experienced the loss of a loved one do not need to have a connection to Parkview Health. Everyone is welcome to participate in the program and these community services.

The typical follow-up while in the Bereavement program lasts around 13 months and can include any of the following:

  • Sympathy and encouragement cards
  • Funeral or family memorial event visits
  • Grief and bereavement education groups
  • Bereavement support group meetings
  • Memorial events and services that recognize loved ones
  • Bereavement encouragement from grief professionals and trained volunteers
  • Individual or family counseling opportunities with hospice social workers and chaplains trained in grief support (can be formal or informal)
  • Quarterly newsletters with stories, articles, encouragements and recipes (all content is curated to promote healthy expressions of grief)
The benefits

Often, a person trying to incorporate a death into their life thinks that others in their regular circles are tired of hearing them talk about it. This can be very isolating and often promotes an unhealthy grief experience. Bereavement programs and support groups like Parkview’s helps by providing an outlet for those who’ve experienced a loss, allowing them to share their story in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

We give people permission to be where they are in the grieving process and help them understand that what they are feeling is entirely normal. Grief is highly personal and unique to each person. Our motto, "We Are Here For You," means our services are individualized and tailored to what's best suited for each person and mourner.

Seeking support

If you are dealing with losing a loved one, we invite you to contact Parkview Hospice for grief and bereavement support. Cathy Petrie co-leads a grief support group with Rev. Ken Weaver, hospice chaplain at Parkview Health, in northern Indiana counties four times a year. Tim O'Sullivan leads grief and peer-to-peer support groups in Allen and Huntington counties. For more information or to find a support group near you, please call 260-373-9800.

Helpful resources

“Understanding Your Grief” by Dr. Alan Wolfelt

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