Bereavement Counseling

Even when planning on whole body donation as an end-of-life option, the grieving process of losing a loved one is never easy. At Research For Life we not only greatly appreciate the gift that our donors give, we also want our donor’s families to know that we understand and empathize with them during their time of mourning.

Though grief is a natural reaction to any form of loss, it is recommended to seek counseling if someone has prolonged grief that starts to interfere with day-to-day activities, causes depression or guilt, causes problems in existing relationships, or if that person finds themselves avoiding social interaction. Ongoing symptoms of distress include: insomnia, loss of appetite, increased irritability, and increased anger.  Inconsolable crying or panic attacks are also signs of someone struggling to cope with a loss.

If you or a loved one are showing signs of prolonged grief and are seeking either an in-person support group or online support, Research For Life has compiled the following list of bereavement counseling programs to help.


Banner Health logo

Banner Health Grief Recovery Program
Online groups and camps only due to COVID19 open to the public

Casa de la Luz logo

Casa de la Luz (Tuscon)
Online support group, one-to-one phone counseling

Hospice Compassus logo

Hospice Compassus

Bullhead City, Mohave County

Casa Grande
Open to the public

Open to the public

Lake Havasu City, La Paz, Mohave

Lakeside, Apache, Southern Navajo

Payson, Portions of Gila and Coconino

Phoenix, Maricopa & Pinal Counties

Prescott Valley, Yavapai County

Sedona, Yavapai and Coconino Counties

Yuma, Yuma County

Hospice of Havasu logo

Hospice of Havasu (Tuscon)
Groups and online grief support

Hospice of the Valley logo

Hospice of the Valley
Grief support groups

New Song Center for Grieving Children

Hospice of Yuma logo

Hospice of Yuma (Yuma)


Arbor Hospice logo

Arbor Hospice
Perris, Lake Elsinore, Romoland, San Jacinto, Hemet, Winchester, Menifee

Community Hospice of Victor Valley logo
County of Los Angeles logo
Kaiser Permanente logo

Kaiser Permanente Bereavement Support Groups
Open to the public

Oasis Hospice logo

Oasis Hospice

Pathways logo

Serenity Hospice
Coachella Valley

The Compassionate Friends logo

The Compassionate Friends
Beach Cities/LA Chapter

The Compassionate Friends
Los Angeles

The Compassionate Friends
South Los Angeles

The Elizabeth Hospice logo

The Elizabeth Hospice
Online support groups
Open to anyone in San Diego County and Southwest Riverside County
Offices in Carlsbad, Escondido, San Diego and Temecula, Ontario, Pomona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Norco, Moreno Valley, Banning, Beaumont, Redlands, Loma Linda, Azusa, Diamond Bar, Chino Hills, Riverside, Covina, Rancho Cucamonga, Corona

VAN Hospice & Palliative Care of Southern California logo


GriefShare logo


VA US Department of Veterans Affairs logo

VA U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Open to Veterans and families of veterans who have died in service of their country

Need more information

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Call us 800.229.3244 or contact us online.
Our professional and compassionate staff is available 24/7 – 365 days/year.

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Research For Life - Understanding Whole Body Donor Consent

Hello, my name is Garland Shreves, CEO of Research For Life. I want to take a moment to discuss some very basic information with you regarding consent forms, in general, that you may encounter when considering to donate to a whole body donor organization.

First and foremost, you need to understand and read the consent form, also known as the authorization form or document of gift, so you know what you are consenting to.  Ask questions of the organization if you don’t understand something. 

 All states require, under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, that consent be granted by an authorized agent of the donor or self-authorization before death.

Each state defines who in the consenting class has the most authority to direct donation. Such as the medical power of attorney, spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, etc. and differs slightly in each state. 

Consent may be given by means of a verbal recorded consent or by a written document of gift.

Research For Life uses a written consent form which can be found on our website.

Understand that the donor or authorizing agent is giving the body to an organization. Once given it belongs to the organization to use in accordance with the consent form.

In other words, the donor organization is free to use the donor provided it does so within the terms

of the consent, it may not use the donor in a manner not consented too.  

The consent may state how the body may be used.  Educational and/or research purposes or some other purpose may be stated or in the discretion of the donor organization.

Research For Life provides cadavers and/or anatomical specimens for education and research purposes and does not do ballistic testing.

The consent may state that the body will be used in whole or in parts. It may also state that the anatomical parts may be used domestically and or internationally.

And most consents will cover some basic things like consent to test the donor for diseases and order medical records to help best determine the medical suitability for the donation.

The consent may also touch on issues like for profit or nonprofit status and if the donor or anatomical specimens will be used by one or more or both types of entities.  Remember that regardless of an organizations tax status they all charge fees to end users who order anatomical specimens and offer those specimens to both for profit and nonprofit entities.

From the very start of the donation process costs to the donor organization begin. 24-hour answering service, transport team to respond 24/7, qualified trained staff paid a livable wage with benefits and retirement, electric, gas, phone, insurances, building payments, maintenance, medical director, and regulatory requirements, and cremation fees. And these are just some of the expenses that an organization may have to cover.

Another item you may see on most authorization forms is a release of liability, a hold harmless agreement, excluding misconduct of course.  

Research For Life states clearly it will not and donor or agent agrees that Research For Life will not be held responsible for acts of third parties in connection with the donation.

Another item that reduces a donor organizations liability is the Anatomical Gift Act prohibits criminal, civil or administrative actions provided there is no intentional misconduct on the part of the donor organization. In other words, if the donor organization acted in good faith it is immune and provided some protection from lawsuits.

Another important part on a consent form is the person signing the authorization attests (affirms) that they have the authority to direct the donation. The donor organization accepts the authorizing agent’s authority in good faith barring any information known to it at the time of donation that would contradict the authority of the person authorizing donation.    

Remember, should you decide to register, tell your family and friends about your decision.

Also, the donation authorization form is not valid until notarized or signed by two witnesses; one witness must be non-family or disinterested party. 

Consent forms contain other important information that you need to read and understand.

All documents of gift or authorizations can be cancelled prior to death.

I want to thank you for taking the time to watch this video and I hope it helped provide you with some basic information regarding whole body donation consent forms.  Thank you.