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GRIEF IN THE WORKPLACE. Center for Grief Education & Support Seasons Hospice. The Hidden Annual Cost Of Grief In America’s Workplace. Death of a Loved One $37.5 billion Family Crisis $ 9.02 billion Death of a Close Friend,

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Center for Grief Education & Support

Seasons Hospice

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The Hidden Annual Cost Of Grief InAmerica’s Workplace

Death of a Loved One $37.5 billion

Family Crisis $ 9.02 billion

Death of a Close Friend,

Colleague, or Extended Family $7.04 billion

Pet Loss $2.4 billion

Major Lifestyle Alterations $2.4 billion

The Grief Recovery Institute Educational Foundation, Inc. -- 2003

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Societal Views AboutLoss And Grief

We live in a “grief denying” culture

Grief is taboo, closeted subject

Pain and suffering are not acceptable states of being, and so are avoided and/or “treated”

Society is secularized; decrease in reliance on a religious framework to cope with loss and grief, decrease in rituals and community support

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How Do We Deal With Grief?

“Blessed are those who grieve quickly and efficiently for they meet the criteria for managed care.”

Minimize the grief




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Bereavement is the objective event of loss.

A relationship with someone or something that is valued

A loss occurs

A feeling of deprivation occurs

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Types Of Loss

Loss is always personal. No one can decide what constitutes a loss to another person.

Significant Relationships




History of Loss

Birth Today


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Grief is the reaction to loss

Natural, internal response to loss

Universal, dynamic, invisible, genderless, ageless, non-linear, cumulative and endless

Experienced physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually

Involves a continual process of adjustment

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Expressions Of Grief

Physical Indigestion, headaches, sleep disturbance

Mental Short-term memory loss, confusion

Emotional Mood swings, short fuse, guilt

Social Isolation

Spiritual Anger at God, “Why” questions

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Mourning is the processes of coping with grief

External expression of grief

Defined by beliefs, attitudes, traditions, culture, religion, gender, age

Influenced by the relationship with the person or object, mode of loss, previous loss experience, personality and social variables, and concurrent stressors

Unique, visible process

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Role Changes

Roles that a loved one fulfilled in one’s life

Roles that one specifically fulfilled in a loved one’s life

Personal role changes

Relationship role changes

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Dual Process Model OfCoping With Loss

Everyday life


Focus on past Focusing on future

Processing the primary loss Processing the secondary loss

Accepting the reality of the loss Adjusting to a different environment

Working through the pain of grief Relocating your loss in your life

Loss-Oriented Grief work

Restoration-oriented Attention to life changes

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A loss is one of the most difficult situations faced by employees, co-workers and the workplace.


It’s about How you Live

At Work

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Expressions Of Grief In The Workplace

Physical Issues: Absenteeism, lack of motivation

Mental Issues: Inability to concentrate, errors, confusion, accidents

Emotional Issues: Mood swings, “grief attacks”

Social: Isolation, substance use on the


Spiritual: Resentful

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Effects of Grief in the Workplace

Decrease in productivity

Decrease in morale

Decrease in safety

Loss of employee

Re-training of new personnel

Increased staff load

Significant financial cost to business

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Business Strategies

Critical Incidence Response Program

Bereavement related policies and programs

Resources, counseling, and educational materials

Classes and workshops for staff

Sensitivity training for managers and supervisors

Eldercare Services/Consultation

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What About Cathy?

Cathy has worked as an administrative assistant for five years. Her colleagues describe her as dedicated and “invaluable.”

For the past two years, she helped her grandfather care for her grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s disease. Cathy helped her grandfather coordinate her grandmother’s care and drove him to the nursing home every evening so he could spend time with his wife.

Cathy’s grandmother recently died. Cathy is very worried about her grandfather.


It’s about How you Live

At Work

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If Cathy Worked For You . . .

How could this affect your business?


Workday interruptions

Reduced productivity

Supervisor time

Unpaid leave

Replace position



It’s about How you Live

At Work

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If Cathy Worked For You . . .

How much could she cost your business?

(if her salary is $15.00/hour and there is no workplace support)



It’s about How you Live

At Work

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In A Typical Workplace,Cathy Might . . .

Be fired as a result of reduced productivity or frequent absences

Alienate her co-workers who pitch in to help cover her workload

Become resentful if her employers aren’t sympathetic

Quit her job


It’s About How You LIVE

At Work

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What Can You Do To Support Employees Like Cathy?



It’s About How You LIVE

At Work

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Work-life program models

Policies and benefits

Community resources


It’s About How You LIVE

At Work

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New and/or fine tune existing:

Work-Life programs



Manager resources

Employee resources NHPCO

It’s About How You LIVE

At Work

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Existing and new work-life programs, policies and resources available:

To Employees

Staff Meetings

Company newsletter

New employee orientation

To Community

Local newspaper or magazine articles


It’s About How You LIVE

At Work

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Managers: to monitor grief issues

Employees: to ask for help

Co-workers: to support co-worker in need

Other businesses: to educate employees

Community: to improve care for the grieving


It’s About How You LIVE

At Work

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What’s In It For You?

Increased employee morale and loyalty

Retention of good employees

Family-friendly work environment

Decreased cost to business

It’s the right thing to do!


It’s About How You LIVE

At Work

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Seasons Hospice Center for Grief Education & Support Can Provide

Consultation regarding work-life policies and procedures

Management training related to handling loss and grief issues at work while balancing the need for performance and productivity with the needs of the bereaved employee.

Employee presentations, workshops, and/or seminars on loss and grief with focus on understanding bereavement, grief, and mourning through the life-span, helping others who are mourning, and other topics.

On-site consultation and/or interventions following significant losses in an employee’s life.

Employee referrals for counseling, support groups and other community resources.

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Helpful Resources

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