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Coronavirus staff guidance University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Dealing with grief and loss

Last updated: 18 February 2021 at 12:36

We know how hard it is to look after yourself when working long hours in tough circumstances. Many of you are patient-facing or responding to the current pandemic, and will have to deal with extremely distressing events, while working under pressured and stressful conditions. We are working with Cruse Bereavement Care to provide a range of support to help you manage yourself and help others. 

Although many of you have been trained to save lives, currently your experience within the hospital means that you may have experienced many of the following:

  • The people you are working with or caring for may be bereaved under difficult and traumatic circumstances
  • Colleagues may have died recently, or you may be worried about co-workers who are very ill. As a team, you may be facing an unprecedented level of grief
  • You may be extremely anxious for your health or that of your family. You may be separated from some of those you love
  • You may experience compassion fatigue, which can arise when we are exhausted while caring in traumatic circumstances. It is like burnout and can mean people start to find it hard to empathise
  • You may be bereaved yourself and having to deal with grief at a time of isolation and social distancing, with all the painful difficulties this brings

How Cruse Bereavement Care can help

If you are struggling with your bereavement, have been affected by the death of patients, or are affected by the grief of those around you, Cruse Bereavement Care can help.

Cruse will be holding an online Zoom session on Thursday 25 February at 19:00, "Understanding your bereavement", consisting of a short presentation (about 30 minutes).

The presentation will offer some simple and visual explanations to help you understand what you are experiencing as a bereaved person, followed by some tips around how you can cope with your loss and navigate your grief journey. Finally, there will be guidance around how to engage with the services that Cruse have available at the moment.

Cruse in Birmingham offers a local service, and a range of resources can be accessed.

Telephone support or group/individual sessions via Zoom

Tel: 0121 687 8010

National freephone helpline

The national freephone helpline offers emotional help and signposting.

Tel: 0808 808 1677

Please visit the Cruse website for opening hours.


The Cruse national website has a lot of related information, including more in traumatic bereavement, and can be accessed via the link under "Other websites".

Digital chat facility

Cruse offers "Cruse chat" on their national website, which can be accessed via the "Cruse Bereavement Care: digital chat facility" link under "Other websites".

Please know that there are people who can support you and that you do not need to manage the complex and confusing emotions you may be experiencing on your own. Share with those around you, and if you don't feel able to, please reach out to organisations like Cruse who can support you.

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