Bereavement fact Sheet

Bereavement – Grief/Loss Support Session Employer Fact Sheet

A bereavement session helps employees deal with the short or long term after effects of a critical incident such as the death of a co-worker’s family member or any trauma within the workplace. Appropriate, timely intervention greatly decreases the likelihood of work-related problems and helps individuals recover more quickly.

By supporting a grief/loss support session, the employer conveys to the employees concern and caring for their welfare. A facilitated session enables employees to return to their previous level of productivity more rapidly. Lost time, stress-related ailments and absenteeism are reduced. Assistance is provided to human resources, management and supervisors.

The following are suggestions to be considered when scheduling a bereavement/grief/loss support session:

Contact the HelpPeople EAP as soon as possible after any critical incident occurs. We will assist you in determining your needs, arranging an intervention and will provide consultation and support.

  • A session is most effective when scheduled within the shift of the incident or at the latest, 24-48 hours after the incident
  • Prior to session, the HelpPeople staff will meet with management or company representatives to assess and review the incident.
  • Any employee or manager affected by the traumatic event may attend the session. There is no rank in the session. Attendance is encouraged, but not mandatory.
  • A quiet, private, comfortable room free of interruptions is desirable. There should be sufficient comfortable seating available and comfort needs available, such as tissues. The meeting should not be interrupted. Pagers, cell phones, beepers etc should be turned off. Participants are asked to remain in the meeting for the entire time. Late comers are discouraged, as they will interrupt the group process.
  • It is strongly advised that the debriefing group be no larger than 15-20 participants. Approximately 1 hour should be allotted. Each situation is different and the HelpPeople counselor will assist you with arrangement considerations.
  • It is a nice gesture if there is water, decaffeinated beverages and/or fruit juices available for participants to have after the debriefing. This allows for a transition period before returning to work.
  • The HelpPeople counselor will provide general feedback to the company representative. Specific information regarding the session’s content is held confidential within the limits specified by law.
  • HelpPeople will provide follow-up services as needed, to either the department or to individuals through office appointments