Help for those who lost a loved one in the Haitian and Chilean earthquakes

Emotional support is available for those who lost family members in the Haitian or Chilean earthquakes at the Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center.

“Losing a loved one in a natural disaster such as these devastating earthquakes can shatter one’s sense of well-being,” said Diane Snyder Cowan, bereavement center director. Seeking individual counseling or a support group can help.”

In a traumatic loss, grief can be compounded by fear, anger, shock, helplessness and sometimes horror. These reactions can make coping with the trauma overwhelming. Reactions may appear immediately after the sudden tragedy or it may take days or even weeks before feelings surface.

In addition to the emotional effects, physical symptoms may appear such as changes in eating or sleeping habits, nausea, thirst, headaches or tremors. Any of these physical symptoms may indicate the need for a physician’s evaluation. 

“It is vital to remember when you’re experiencing this type of grief that you aren’t going crazy,” said Snyder Cowan. “These reactions are normal. There are times when professional assistance is necessary, and we’re able to offer that help.” 

The Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Bereavement Center is a service of the Hospice of the Western Reserve. Counseling is available on a sliding scale and support groups are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the center at 216-486-6838, located at19201 Villaview Road, Cleveland, or visit Clients may also be seen at the Warrensville Heights office at 4670 Richmond road, Suite 200.

Hospice of the Western Reserve is a community-based, nonprofit agency providing comfort care and emotional support to seriously ill adult and children and their families, regardless of disease or ability to pay. Care is provided wherever the patient lives: at home, in a nursing facility, in our hospice residential facility or in a hospital.

Paige Boyer is the communications and media relations specialist for the Hospice of the Western Reserve.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 12:14 PM, 03.02.2010