LifChild Uganda engages in this activity to save lives especially during illness, grief after death, During the period of illness, parents or other careers may be preoccupied with their own grief and would need the help of outside counseling. The aim of counseling for children at this time allows them to express grief and repressed feelings by allowing them to break down. Counselors can encourage the child to deal with the reality of the loss and the adjustment to environment without the deceased. The child can then start adjusting and exploring the circumstances as an independent person.
Anticipating a parent’s death starts the process of grieving early, which makes it easier for the bonds of attachment to fade gradually over time. It prepares them for what lies ahead instead of taking them off guard, and can promote the awareness that although change is hard, the child can manage grief and loss – what has happened is not so awful that it cannot be talked about.
Family counseling through home based care
Bereavement counseling usually refers to counseling for families after a loved one’s death. However, counseling can also begin during a long period of illness, in anticipation of death. Most frequently it is the parents who are counseled about death and because of the age-old idea that children are resilient and taboos on talking to the children; they are left out of the picture. It is important, however, that children are included in the family counseling.
The majority of the patients presently visiting the LifChild are being handled for AIDS-related illnesses. It offers home based bereavement counseling services free of charge. As part of the organization’s home-based, the nurses explore options with the family for the children after the parent’s death, such as where the children will live and whether or not to write a will. LifChild Uganda counsels children based on the belief that the death of a parent will have an effect on the mental health of the child if it is not adequately dealt with through the grieving process. The length of time that a grieving process will last depends on whether or not the child was prepared for the death.
If the parent is ill for a long period of time, the child can be involved in caring for the parent, thereby reducing the child’s grief at the time of the actual death. Therefore, although bereavement counseling is commonly thought of as happening after the death of a loved one, patients with long terminal illnesses and their families can benefit from counseling ahead of time. Counseling continues after the parent dies and follow-up is done with the new family if necessary. LifChild Uganda holds regular group sessions for bereaved children.