Grief During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Considerations for Palliative Care Providers

Tags: Self Care

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The COVID-19 pandemic is anticipated to continue spreading widely across the globe throughout 2020. To mitigate the devastating impact of COVID-19, social distancing and visitor restrictions in health care facilities have been widely implemented. Such policies and practices, along with the direct impact of the spread of COVID-19, complicate issues of grief that are relevant to medical providers. We describe the relationship of the COVID-19 pandemic to anticipatory grief, disenfranchised grief, and complicated grief for individuals, families, and their providers. Furthermore, we provide discussion regarding countering this grief through communication, advance care planning, and self-care practices. We provide resources for health care providers, in addition to calling on palliative care providers to consider their own role as a resource to other specialties during this public health emergency.

Wallace CL, Wladkowski SP, Gibson A, White P. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2020;S0885-3924(20)30207-4.

Caring for bereaved family members during the COVID-19 pandemic: before and after the death of a patient.

Tags: Psychotherapy counselling CBT. Grief and Bereavement

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Bereavement care is considered an integral component of quality end-of-life care endorsed by the palliative care movement. However, few hospitals and health care institutions offer universal bereavement care to all families of patients who die. The current coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has highlighted this gap and created a sense of urgency, from a public health perspective, for institutions to provide support to bereaved family members. In this article, drawing on the palliative care and bereavement literature, we offer suggestions about how to incorporate palliative care tools and psychological strategies into bereavement care for families during this pandemic.

Grief and Bereavement Supports for Health Care Workers

Tags: Self Care. Grief and Bereavement

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HPCO is pleased to launch a Support Service Line for front line health care workers to help cope with stress, grief, and bereavement, and build resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. This line is free to access, and confidential.

Individuals trained and credentialled in providing support  in grief, bereavement, spiritual support, and emotional support are available to listen and help you. The Support Service Line team has extensive experience and understand the unique needs of health care workers. They can lend an ear to simply listen, or offer information, assessment, and referral to services based on your needs, preferences, and location.

This free support service is available to front line health care workers in Ontario and is available in English only at this time.