Healthcare workers and grief

Coping with death and grief as a healthcare worker

Following the general population grief campaign, the HSE, together with Irish Hospice Foundation, has now launched a campaign to support healthcare workers with bereavement, grief and loss. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a new and difficult experience for many healthcare workers who may have been exposed to more death, illness and distress than usual.

Key messages include:

  • COVID-19 took away end of life moments from patients and families, with healthcare workers sometimes becoming the only human connection during this time. Be gentle on yourself. The pandemic has meant that we may have experienced more loss. Recognise the potential impact as you might be grieving.
  • Focusing on work is very difficult after the death of a work friend or team member and it takes time to re-adjust to the workplace without them. Be there for each other and reach out to colleagues.
  • Sharing your feelings with others can be one of the best ways to cope with bereavement, grief and loss as you may have gone through a shared experience. Create a space to speak, support and acknowledge each other’s feelings in the workplace.
  • Healthcare workers care for others. Looking after yourself, especially after losing someone close to you is the self-care many forget. Take your time. Grief is different for everyone. Acknowledge your feelings and reach out for support if you need to.

Information to increase knowledge about grief, bereavement and supports can be found at

HSE staff can call the HSE Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on 0818 327 327 to speak to someone who can help. This is a free and confidential service.

Anyone can call the IHF Bereavement Support Line on 1800 80 70 77 (Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm).

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