Primary Goals of Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch Program:
1. Provide support to grieving children & their families in Central PA
2. Increase community awareness of the needs of grieving children
Founded in 2006, the Healing Patch program provides free supportive services to children and families who have experienced the death of a loved one. Staffed primarily by volunteers, the Healing Patch is funded by Home Nursing Agency Hospice and the Home Nursing Agency Foundation, donations and grants, and various fundraisers.
So, Why Do Children Need a “Healing Patch”?
According to the 2005 Census, we know that 1 out of 20 children will have a parent die before they graduate high school. (Statistically…that’s one in every classroom, scout troop or sports team). So what does that mean locally? At any given time in their first 18 years of life, 1,363 children in Blair County will have a parent die before they graduate high school…1,459 children in Cambria County.
When a family member dies, a child’s life is turned upside down. The impact is devastating. From the day their parent, grandparent, brother/sister dies…everything changes….nothing is ever the same. It is often the defining moment of their lives.
Children often indicate that they feel alone because others just don’t understand. These children need help and support. They need to feel that they are not alone. And that’s what they receive through Home Nursing Agency Healing Patch…A Program for Loss & Hope for Grieving Children & Their Families.
Benefits of the Program
Research has shown that the ability to cope well with an overwhelming event such as a death in the family, for both children and adults, is facilitated greatly by having the support of others outside the family.
Research indicates that children who communicate with peers are found to be more connected to the person who died, have higher self-esteem, and are less “at-risk” than those who do not communicate with peers.
Additionally, it is believed that having a peer who has gone through a similar loss makes it easier for a grieving child to speak openly.
The Healing Patch offers a safe place where grieving children and their families can come together and be with others who understand what they’re going through. At the Healing Patch, children come to share their feelings, memories and experiences. They and their families get support and encouragement from each other, facilitated by a specially trained staff and volunteers.
Healing Patch Centers: Provide peer support groups for grieving children and their families throughout the school year. The Healing Patch Centers offer a safe environment where participants can discover they are not alone in their grief by interacting with others who have encountered similar losses. By sharing memories and experiences, families discover that what they are going through is normal and that hope and healing are possible. Centers are located in Cambria and Blair Counties.
“Bridge Services”: Grief Specialists/Social Workers serve as resources for Home Nursing Agency’s hospice families with children in the home anticipating the pending death of a significant family member, linking families to bereavement resources.
School Services: The Healing Patch has expanded services to include in-school peer support groups, targeting school districts lacking community bereavement services. Additionally, staff has begun to offer “Grief Education in the Classroom”, presenting grief/loss and death/dying information as part of high school health class curriculum. Staff also provides Educational In-services to school personnel on various grief related topics.
Lending Library: Both HP Centers have fully functional lending libraries stocked with over 400 grief related resources available to anyone within the community. Resources have been utilized by participants, volunteers, hospice families, HNA staff, school districts, and the community.
Community Outreach & Educational Opportunities: HP staff continues to focus on increasing awareness regarding the needs of grieving children through Children’s Grief Awareness Day activities, outreach presentations, distribution of grief related materials and educational/seminars/workshops throughout the Agency’s service area.