As the COVID-19 crisis grew, David Hargrave, LSW, CTP, bereavement counseling professional at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, knew that his co-workers would need more support as they continue to care for patients and their families.
So Hargrave offered “Chats With Dave,” a support group held through video conferencing for the entire staff at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare.
“Our staff will need support to be the best versions of themselves personally and professionally during this pandemic,” Hargrave said. “Our mission at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare is often emotionally intense and demanding, and our current societal environment increases that demand personally and professionally. We want to be a resource for them.”
Hospice care during non-pandemic times is emotionally and spiritually draining, and teammates are regularly encouraged to engage in self-care to ensure they are well to care for others.
“That is even more important in this time of global pandemic,” said Christy Michaels, director of clinical operations at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare. “Offering these sessions is a message to our teammates that they are important to us. We want them to know that we care about how they are personally coping. Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare cares about its staff.”
The staff at Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare appreciated the “Chats With Dave” sessions.
“As healthcare workers, our focus naturally gravitates to the care of others. We are all balancing the pull of professional and personal responsibilities during this period of national crisis,” Michaels said. “These sessions are set-aside times to focus on self-care, reflection and community. We have had teammates express appreciation that they are not alone in their feelings and struggles during this time.”
The sessions have changed as the stage of the pandemic has progressed. Initially, the focus was on coping with the external world changing so dramatically. Staff members have discussed how this crisis has created new challenges in supporting patients and families, and one week shared creative ideas teammates are doing at home to cope and bring levity to the days.
“These support sessions offer staff a safe space,” Hargrave said. “They can share personal challenges and how they’re adjusting.”