Statewide program to help nursing home workers cope with grief

Nursing home workers in Georgia will get help dealing with grief, thanks to a recently awarded grant from AARP Georgia.

The grant, which was given to the Georgia ombudsman program, allowed about 50 of the state's ombudsmen to attend training sessions on grief and loss.

Beginning this summer, the state's ombudsmen will teach what they learned to nursing home workers in their respective districts. Georgia has 372 long-term care facilities employing almost 35,000 people, according to figures from the Georgia Nursing Home Association.

Ombudsmen and nursing home administrators both have voiced concerns about workers' ability to cope with the deaths of residents. Some workers have been known to resign their positions after a resident death, according to some accounts. It is important for nurses to time to grieve, one ombudsman said.

The workshops this summer will be offered to nursing homes at no cost. They will address ways for employees to honor residents, such as holding a memorial service or creating a shrine.