You’ve Lost a Loved One. Don’t Lose Your Health Too!
Robin Fiorelli, Sr. Director of Bereavement and Volunteers at Vitas Healthcare the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care joins eHealth Radio and the Emotional Health, Health Care & Health News Channels.
Robin Fiorelli has spent her career thinking about loss, death and grief. From what to say to a friend who is grieving to what a community needs when a public tragedy strikes, her education and experience as director of bereavement and volunteer services at VITAS Healthcare have served her, VITAS and the public well.
Listen to interview with host Eric Michaels and guest Robin Fiorelli discuss the following:
Does grief affect our overall health? Specifically what about our physical health and psychological health?
What is complicated grief and what risk factors are associated with it?
What are the indications that grief is moving from its normal course and becoming a problem?
What are some current theories on how our bodies process grief?
What are some tips for coping with grief – and keeping our own wellness in mind?
Summary: Grief is universal and it is a normal human reaction to losing a loved one. Because the grief experience can be so difficult though, we often think we are losing our minds. So, it helps to understand what normal grief looks like, how we can help those who are grieving and what steps we can take to prevent grief from significantly affecting our health.
Robin Fiorelli, LCSW, is senior director of bereavement and volunteer services for VITAS Healthcare. Robin develops, implements and standardizes VITAS’ volunteer and bereavement services nationwide.
She also serves as the liaison between Global Partners in Care and VITAS’ 17 African hospice partnerships, and is liaison between VITAS Community Connection, a non-profit affiliate, and VITAS Healthcare. Additionally, she provides support and education to VITAS ethics committees nationwide.
Robin has more than 25 years of social services and bereavement support experience. She joined VITAS in 1993 as a social worker in San Diego. She has served in her current position since 2003.
“It was through my experience observing grief outcomes,” Robin says of the topic she will discuss, “that I began to conclude that those mourners who were able to gradually adjust emotionally, socially and spiritually also seemed to sustain better physical health overall. And they seemed to survive longer after their loss. Social support, faith and the individual’s psychological makeup have all been shown in the literature to greatly affect an individual’s grief outcome.
“That’s why, at VITAS, we are careful to individually assess each bereaved caregiver’s history—coping with prior loss, social support, internal strengths—to develop a plan of care tailored to their current needs for grief support.”
Robin has received the national VITAS Award for Excellence in Management, been named to VITAS’ Leadership Council and won the Social Worker of the Year Award for the San Diego chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She recently served two terms on the NHPCO bereavement steering committee—officially known as the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals section of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
She is the author of many of the resources on VITAS.com written for grieving friends and family, and has contributed throughout her career to published books and articles on grief and loss and their effects on health.
Robin earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work at the University of California, Berkeley.