VITAS Healthcare is launching a nationwide grief helpline to support healthcare workers and others who need emotional support related to grief, death and loss as a result of their experiences on the COVID-19 front lines.
VITAS is an end-of-life care company with a nationwide network of bereavement and psychosocial experts. Its new grief helpline will offer a virtual support group to all healthcare workers May 26 through May 29.
“As healthcare workers who specialize in support for the dying, we have unique insight into what family members and healthcare professionals are experiencing,” said Joseph Shega, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer for VITAS. “We can help the country deal with the widespread feelings of grief and loss caused by this pandemic.”
Workers can call the helpline at 866-800-4707 between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT beginning Tuesday, May 26. They can also visit VITAS.com/helpline. Front-line healthcare workers should self-identify when they call to be connected with specialized support services.
The nearly 50 VITAS counselors staffing the line are highly trained grief specialists, and they have previously offered virtual support groups following other crises such as mass shootings.
“When we saw healthcare workers taking their own lives as a result of the extraordinary tragedies they have witnessed, we knew that it was critical to open our arms to those who were pressed into active service during the pandemic,” Shega said.