Community Hospice, the oldest nonprofit hospice organization serving the Central Valley, has been selected to receive one of five grants provided by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) through the generosity of Legal & General America. This grant provides Community Hospice Grief Support Services Department the opportunity to develop a community bereavement support program called MOOD, Mourning Opioid Overdose Deaths. The MOOD program will begin seeing clients in June 2020 and is intended to support family and friends of loved ones who lost their lives due to an opioid related overdose.
If someone is feeling sadness, guilt, shame, anger, isolation, doubt, denial, love, even relief after a loved one died due to opioid overdose, they may be experiencing grief. The Central Valley is now home to an opioid epidemic. The sad fact is; our communities have seen an increase year over year in overdose related deaths. Opioid addiction is a concern for many area leaders and healthcare providers. In March of 2019, an Opioid Safety Coalition was formed and hosted an Opioid Safety Awareness Summit. A recent community needs assessment revealed that while there are many resources available to support people with an opioid addiction, there are no specific support groups for bereaved survivors.
“We are so very pleased to have been chosen as a recipient of the NHPCO grant,” said C. DeSha McLeod, Community Hospice President/CEO. “For over 40 years, Community Hospice has been providing bereavement services in Stanislaus County and surrounding areas. There are many people in our community that have experienced loss related to opioid addiction and overdose. This grant allows us to continue our mission, embracing those in need as they travel their grief journey.”
Losing someone close is always difficult, losing someone to addiction may result in experiencing stigma or isolation. One may be reluctant to access community resources for grief support. One may think they are alone and nobody has gone through this; help is available. The MOOD program offers individual and family/friend group sessions. Participants will have an initial individual screening, with a recommendation of support in one of the following ways: Clients can participate in weekly individual support sessions with a counselor or they can join group support sessions, for seven weeks. Participants will have the opportunity to explore healthy ways to express grief, help accept the reality and circumstances of death, acknowledge trauma and validate grief reactions and symptoms, educate and discuss addiction and its impact. Also, provide support to decrease stigma and isolation, explore meaningful rituals and remember, honor and say goodbye.
MOOD program providers have been specially educated on addiction and the unique and significant aspects of bereavement for survivors of opioid overdose and loss. The NHPCO grant covers the cost for services provided to the first 50 clients. Bereavement services may be covered by insurance or one may choose to pay privately. For additional information about MOOD or to make a referral, visit heal.hospiceheart.org or call 209-578-6300.
Community Hospice is the oldest and largest nonprofit hospice agency in the Central Valley. Serving the community since 1979, Community Hospice mission is to provide compassionate and quality care, education and support to patients and families, regardless of ability to pay. Care extends to over 2,000 patients each year in private homes, skilled nursing facilities, retirement communities and at the 16-bed inpatient Alexander Cohen Hospice House. Community Hospice also provides bereavement and grief support to anyone in the community. For more information, call 209-578-6300 or visit hospiceheart.org.