Healthcare providers overwhelmed by pandemic losses can now get support via text.


    This week, Seattle-based start-up, Grief Coach, announced it’s new service for healthcare providers who have been overwhelmed by both personal and professional losses during the pandemic. Founder and CEO, Emma Payne, announced this week that her company is now delivering grief support and education for nurses and clinicians, via text message. “We have relied on our healthcare workers to care for us,” she says, “so now we need to care for them, as the emotional toll of COVD-10 continues to escalate.”

    The idea for providing grief training for nurses and healthcare providers via text message was an obvious next step for Grief Coach. Our team has been delivering personalized text-based bereavement care for over two years, and we’ve seen that sending tips and reminders directly to people’s phones is an effective way to reduce illness, anxiety, sleep issues, substance use, and other negative outcomes. As we look at the impact of COVID-19 it made sense to add a specialized service for the courageous clinicians, bereavement managers, nurses and other healthcare providers who have faced an overwhelming number of losses this year. We were particularly struck by the May 11th McKinsey report which warned that nearly a quarter of nurses in the US are considering leaving their work on the front lines. The report speaks to how increasing demands placed on healthcare workers have created both a physical strain as well as a psychological strain for those losing patients, or in some tragic cases, coworkers and loved ones.

    Our new text-based education service delivers messages customized based on age, relationship, cause of death and more. Grief Coach partnered with renowned author and psychotherapist, Megan Devine, to create a specialized text series that focuses on professional caregivers. Devine and her company, Refuge In Grief, have extensive experience providing bereavement training for clinicians. Her wisdom and experience helped to shape this new text message series that offers practical, personal guidance to help healthcare workers process and manage their grief.

    We’re pleased to see more and more healthcare companies who recognize their obligation to support grieving employees. There is an urgent need to provide bereavement training and support to nurses and social workers, as a way to improve employee morale, reduce burnout, and eliminate avoidable workplace errors.

    One person who knows this first hand is Gina Kornfeind, the Bereavement Coordinator at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. As a Grief Coach subscriber herself, Gina has seen how valuable Grief Coach’s text support can be. “Grieving is raw and painful to witness,” she says. “Nurses and social workers are called on to address suffering every day, and to witness what may be the most catastrophic and stressful event in a person’s life. So it’s no wonder that our nation’s care providers are experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout. I think that caregivers like me constantly feel that what we’re doing isn’t enough, and that all the responsibility for providing support sits with us. Instead we need to feel supported ourselves, and confident that we have adequate grief support resources to share. Grief Coach is a game changer in making support available at scale. I love how they also text friends and family who want to help, because bereavement care needs to engage the community to be effective.”

    Grief Coach’s text-based bereavement training for nurses and healthcare providers service launched this week. To find out more about Grief Coach and the new service, it’s possible to visit