My Hospice: Patti’s Story – Hospice Action Network

What My Hospice means is different to each individual and family we serve. For one town and school district, it meant receiving help from Hospice & Community Care for how to deal with grief after student deaths.

Last fall, Warwick School District was blindsided by two tragedies in a matter of months. Hospice was there to help.

First, three students were involved in a vehicle accident directly in front of the school at the time of the afternoon dismissal. The student driving survived but was badly injured while his two best friends who were also in the car died at the hospital.

The school called Dr. Patti Anewalt, Director of the Pathways Center for Grief & Loss, for help. Patti offered support and guidance to the surviving student as well as the ICU staff, other students and the parents at the hospital.

Sadly, tragedy struck again. Two months after the accident, a student took her own life at the school during weekend play rehearsal and her body was discovered by another student and parents. Once again, Patti was asked to provide grief support to the adults who were present that morning. Patti also held a debriefing session with school administration.

In a small and tight-knit community, these tragedies were felt by everyone. To help the community cope, Patti was asked to speak and moderate a panel discussion at a community-wide event on understanding grief. She also provided training for teachers in all grade levels within the school district this spring on how to support grieving students.

While no one can truly be prepared for a tragedy, Patti feels confident that the students, faculty and administrators feel more prepared to handle grief and loss and be a resource for one another as they look ahead to the upcoming school year. “I am so impressed with how responsive Warwick’s faculty and administration have been with all that had happened this past year,” shared Patti. “Time and time again, they have made sure that the students know that they care deeply about them and are supportive in any and all ways.”

We invite you to keep promoting the power of hospice by joining the My Hospice campaign. Please consider sharing this post with your family and friends on Facebook and Twitter, or share your My Hospice story with us.