Friday, March 27, 2009

Caring for the Dying During a Natural Disaster - Flooding in North Dakota and Hospice

Cheryl Link, LSW, CT from the Hospice of the Red River Valley asked us to share this message:
Hello, I am sure that some of you have heard about Fargo, ND in the news lately. We are fighting the highest flood waters that the area has ever experienced. Schools and colleges in the area have been filling sandbags sandbagging since Monday. Many areas of Moorhead, just across the river are also affected. Several developments in Fargo-Moorhead and surrounding towns are being asked to evacuate. Several people have been rescued by helicopter. Please keep this area in your thoughts these next few weeks. Thanks.

Caring for the dying is difficult under normal circumstances; hospices face especially daunting challenges during natural disasters. While hospice staff work to help these families, many of them are facing evacuation and potential loss of property at the same time.

Dr. Kenneth Doka, HFA’s Senior Consultant, traveled to North Dakota in 1997 after significant flooding had occurred there. He conducted workshops with hospice staff, school personnel, and with employers, to share ideas and resources about dealing with the tangible and intangible losses that had impacted so many. During that visit, and in watching responses to other natural disasters that have happened since, we are reminded of the vital role that hospices can play in their communities, in helping people cope with the myriad losses that occur as a result of natural disaster. HFA will continue to serve as a resource to communities in North Dakota and keep them in our thoughts.

Amy Tucci, President and CEO, Hospice Foundation of America