When a patient dies, patient care workers quickly turn their attention to those who still require their special skills. The death signals an end to their ministrations. However, for the patient’s family or close friends, the death is the beginning of a new journey – and for many, the terrain is unfamiliar and sometimes overwhelming. Enter Lanyse Guay, Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre’s Bereavement Consultant.
Guay has worked in this position since its inception in September 2003. Her special role is to provide support to families and close friends of patients who have died. She provides emotional support to people suffering from grief and other reactions to death. Those interested may receive a referral for counseling or contact with a support group.
“Getting the feedback that you have helped one person… and to know that you’ve made a difference, that tells me that what the Health Sciences Centre is doing is worthwhile and beneficial,” she said.
Her position is unique because the Health Sciences Centre is an acute tertiary hospital in an urban setting, and the program did not originate from palliative care. She also serves as a resource to members of the centre’s health-care team.
Lanyse also provides practical advice and support. For many people “the next steps” following a death are a mystery. There are issues of insurance, documentation and funeral arrangements – and sometimes autopsies, CME investigations and inquests. Lanyse is available to help people navigate through this part of their journey too. Her services can be accessed as frequently as needed during the year following a death.
In her role as Bereavement Consultant, Lanyse brings a wealth of experience and education in related fields including nursing, forensics and funeral services. At the moment Guay is working to establish an Adult Child support group, open a grief centre and is producing a resource guide and kit for families.