Wawasan Open University hosted a public seminar on ‘Dealing with Grief and Loss’ to help people cope with the loss of their loved ones and to teach how others can offer the right kind of support in their time of crisis.
The half-day seminar at the main campus in Penang was organised by WOU’s School of Foundation and Liberal Studies. Over 100 people, including nurses, volunteers from Hospice and Rumah Charis, teachers, carers, and adults along with their elderly parents, attended the event.
Dr Lalitha Jeyasingam, a medical expert with extensive experience in geriatric and palliative medicine, conducted the talk. She shared how people express their grief and loss especially in the face of life-threatening illnesses and death. “One way of dealing with the issue is to talk openly about death. I made my parents talk about it so that I will know what they want and I am more prepared for it.”
The seminar also explored ways for parents and relatives to care for a very ill child whilst managing their own grief. Carers learnt what to expect and how to give comfort to a dying person. Dr Lalitha suggested that the best support is to “be there with the patient, talk and listen to them, and make them feel as comfortable as possible especially when the person is nearing death.”
Dr Lalitha teaches undergraduate medical students, and gives training to nurses and doctors on communication skills, handling of bad news, and on psychological and spiritual issues.
An exhibition to promote cancer awareness was also held in collaboration with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia Penang Branch and the Penang Hospice Society.