Important things to remember about Death, Dying, and Social Work, as told by Sarah Hopkins.
Never devalue someone else’s loss.
You will encounter a lot of loss as a social worker in hospice. When working with family members who have lost their loved ones, it is important to remember that every loss is a loss. Never devalue someone else’s loss because you don’t think it is a greater loss than your own or another’s.
Self Care is SO important.
Working in any field of social work can take a huge toll on you emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is so important to have an outlet and ways in which you can release the stress of the day, be it physical activity, reading a book, or simply the company of family and friends.
When disclosing your own personal experience with loss, be sure to ask yourself what purpose disclosing that information will serve.
We all have experienced some kind of loss in life. When working with a client going through loss, sometimes it can be helpful to share your own experience with loss. But always consider WHY you are disclosing this information and really think about whether or not it will be beneficial to the client.
Never tell a client you know what they’re going through.
Every individual deals with loss in their own way and feels loss in their own individual way. To tell a client that you know how they’re feeling could devalue their feeling of loss.
Continue to be there.
When someone loses a loved one, they are bombarded with sympathy and care immediately following the loss. At this point, they’re often still “numb” and the impact of the loss has not really hit them. When the casseroles stop being delivered, and sympathy cards stop coming in the mail, and people move on with their own lives, the pain sets in. Be a person who is there down the road when the real pain of dealing with a loss sets in.
Hopkins, S. (2016). Guest Speaker