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  • PO Box 417, Mount Pleasant, SC 29465
  • (843) 216-7323
  • info@bridgessc.org
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The Need & Our Impact

End-of-Life conversations, planning, and decision-making can be uncomfortable and difficult for everyone involved – from patients and families to even the health care professionals. Unfortunately, this often leads to “bad deaths” much like this recollection from a 2016 New York Times article, Not Just a Death, A System Failure:

She had four months in the Intensive Care Unit, endless and pointless and painful procedures, and final days full of fear and despair. I have made peace with her death, but not with her dying.

And the time after the death of loved one can be just as challenging to navigate:

A cultural avoidance of the topic of death, and a subsequent reluctance to discuss and address grief, contributes to families feeling isolated in their experiences. Children and adults alike report suppressing their reactions to the death for reasons such as not wanting to burden others, appear different or risk appearing unstable. Consequently, grieving individuals may adopt unhealthy coping strategies such as avoidance, risk-taking, self-harm, and numbing through substance abuse.*

*Griese, B., Burns, M., Farro, S., Silvern, L., & Talmi, A. (2017). Comprehensive Grief Care for Children and Families: Policy and Practice Implications. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 87(5), 540-547.

Community Education

90% of people believe it is important to discuss end-of-life wishes with loved ones; only 27% have had such conversations. (2013 Conversation Project) 82% of people say it is important to put end-of-life wishes in writing (complete an advance directive) but only 23% have done so (California Healthcare Foundation 2012)

46% of physicians report feeling “uncomfortable” or “unprepared” initiating end-of-life conversations with patients. Only 29% of physicians report receiving any training on conducting advance care planning conversations. (2016 Survey by Cambria Health Foundation and John A. Hartford Foundation)

Grief Support

1 in 11 South Carolina children will experience the death of a parent or sibling by age 18. South Carolina ranks 10th nationally in the number of bereaved children. (Childhood Bereavement Estimation Model)

Our Impact

These challenges inform our ambitious mission and diverse programs to improve the end-of-life experiences for patients and families. In 2017-18, in collaboration with our program partners, volunteers, and donors, Bridges’ reach included:

720

community members educated about the importance of EOL planning

151

healthcare professionals & family caregivers trained to enhance EOL care

254

children and their families received age-appropriate, evidence-informed grief support

And in 2018-19 we are celebrating 30 years of hope! Shannon’s Hope Camp, started in 1989, has helped more than 1,000 children heal, grow and thrive after the death of a loved one.