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Time of Death and Bereavement

After researching information that is needed at the time of a death, our Team decided to put together a protocol to be followed when we are informed of a death of a church member.

During the initial phone call informing us of a death, we assess the emotional distress of the person calling the family supports available, the degree of preparedness of the person calling, and the circumstances of the death. We must quickly decide to either go in person or give information over the phone. In routine situations, where the person who died is elderly, or the death was expected, and the family member has supports we give information over the phone. If the caller is emotionally upset, unsupported, or unprepared, we go in person to provide information and support decision making

When we give information we leave our phone number for further contact. We call the Neighborhoods to take meals and express condolences. We send a sympathy card and call back in 2-3 to see if we can offer any further help. We attend the Memorial Service

We continue to follow the bereaved family for 12-18 months, particularly if the remaining family is a single spouse. We call or visit, and encourage the person who is now alone to re-enter the church community. We try to devise a plan to meet each individual's needs

Although we have not had the experience of being called out to someone's home, as yet we plan that more than one member of the Team or a member of the Team and the minister would go together. in that way we can support each other.

Over the past six months we have collected information about funeral homes in our area, Crematories, cemeteries, burials at Arlington National Cemetery, donation of bodies to medical schools planning Memorial Services, writing obituaries, and getting started on the paper work for Probate. We think we are prepared to help both at the time of death and to support the bereaved person. We have not had a lot of opportunity to try out our skills.

As opposed to having any one person on call for this Program, the phone numbers for all members of the Team are published so that any member of the Team might be called.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.

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