Compass Grief Support Group Helps Those Suffering Losses from Overdose

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Bonnie Scott

Compass Regional Hospice is restructuring its Recovery After a Substance Passing grief support group to be more engaging and welcoming to those who are suffering the loss of a loved one due to overdose death.

The group meets from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at Compass Regional Hospice, 255 Comet Drive, Centreville. The group will meet this winter on Jan. 17, Feb. 21 and March 21.

Grief Support Supervisor Rhonda Knotts said the group now will include dinner, fellowship, guided conversation or activities and the occasional guest speaker.

January’s guest speaker will be Bonnie Scott, a Kent County native who has been in addiction recovery since 2004. She will talk about her experiences with loss due to overdose.

Scott attended Kent County High School and for the past 13 years has lived in Easton as a personal trainer, first at Body Watts and now as a self-employed personal trainer focusing on seniors over age 55 and people facing orthopedic issues.

In May 2012, Scott lost her only son to an overdose. In 2013, she received her Grief Recovery Specialist certification through the Grief Recovery Institute.

Today, she also is a grandmother to three and an ordained minister that performs weddings and, occasionally, funerals, all over Maryland and Delaware. She enjoys crocheting, photography, reading and anything she can make or paint.

Compass Regional Hospice Executive Director Heather Guerieri said supporting families who have lost a loved one due to substance overdose is a natural fit for Compass Regional Hospice.

“Compass Regional Hospice offers assistance to those who are suffering the loss of a loved one after addiction and overdose,” Guerieri said. “The RASP support group is offered to anyone, regardless of whether or not they have been served by Compass. We are honored to offer this support to the communities and patients we serve in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties, and we never turn anyone away from these groups based on an inability to pay; they are open to everyone.”

Photo: Members of Compass Regional Hospice’s Grief Support Services team are, from left, Ann OConnor, grief counselor; Mary Scull, bereavement assistant; Rhonda Knotts, Grief Support Services supervisor; Linda Turner, grief counselor; and Wayne Larrimore, grief counselor and winner of the 2018 Cynthia Nugent Award for Clinical Excellence.

Knotts said grief following a drug overdose is often very complicated and can be different from other forms of grieving. The untimely and traumatic death can cause intense emotional reactions in loved ones, including guilt, shame/stigma, anger, anxiety and fear, and isolation.

“These can be very destructive and toxic emotions in those grieving, and can also be difficult to overcome,” Knotts said. “Survivors often feel the people around them can’t or don’t care to understand their situation or their complex emotions. This leads to survivors oftentimes left to grieve alone. We want you to know that you aren’t alone and that this is a safe space for you to come and open up, or don’t, maybe just listen or enjoy a time of fellowship with those who understand your situation and can help you bridge the path to healing.”

Knotts said the most important thing to know, is that if you are suffering, you are not alone.

“If you know someone who’s suffering from this type of loss, please let them know they are not alone,” Knotts said.“We are here for them, there are things they can do to help themselves, and there are many others out there who truly understand because they are going through the same thing.”

To learn more about the RASP grief support group, to register or to learn about other grief support programs and services available through Compass Regional Hospice, contact Knotts at 443-262-4109 or rknotts@compassregionalhospice.org.

Compass Regional Hospice – Care on your terms

Compass Regional Hospice is a fully licensed, independent, community-based nonprofit organization certified by Medicare and the state of Maryland and accredited by the Joint Commission. Since 1985, Compass Regional Hospice has been dedicated to supporting people of all ages through the challenge of living with a serious illness and learning to live following the death of a loved one. Today, the organization is a regional provider of hospice care and grief support in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Caroline counties. “Care on your terms” is the promise that guides staff and volunteers as they care for patients in private residences, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the residential hospice centers in Centreville and Chestertown. Grief support services are offered to children, adults and families of patients who died under hospice care, as well as members of the community who are grieving the loss of a loved one. For more information about Compass Regional Hospice, visit compassregionalhospice.org.

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