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Businesses learn how to help grieving employees

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
December 2, 2011
— People grieve over more than just death.

"It's loss—major of any kind,'' said Karen Cain, Rock County health officer.


That's why she invited Agrace HospiceCare staff to talk to the county Planning and Preparedness Committee about grieving.


"Part of what we do with emergency planning is what happens in the aftermath. If we have a flood or tornado, we need to be prepared to deal with emergencies, but then we also have to look at what happens afterward when people go through grieving,'' she said.


Committee members include representatives of hospitals, clinics, community organizations, schools, county government, city government, EMS, law enforcement and religion.


"Most of the time, we think of grief in response to death, but there are a lot of other stresses that also can cause grief. Whatever the emergency is, there's people who lose their jobs, homes, family members, important items and money," Cain said.


As part of being prepared, it's important for committee members to know the resources available, she said.


Businesses are recognizing the importance of healthy grieving, too.


Agrace HospiceCare has been offering support to businesses and schools since before 2000.


A seminar titled "Grief in the Workplace: Help for Employees, Supervisors and Managers" was offered in November. Another is scheduled for January.


"Participants will learn words that comfort and help those suffering a loss while gaining insight on what workplaces can do to help employees who are grieving," said Lisa Brown, community relations manager for Agrace HospiceCare's Rock County service center, Janesville.


Businesses of any size are encouraged to contact Brown for more information about the Corporate Ambassador Program, which can be tailored to fit any workplace, or to request a workplace educational presentation, she said.


Brown said workplace grief seminars have been popular.


That doesn't surprise Cain, who knows too well that the workplaces of some planning and preparedness committee members have downsized because of the sour economy.


"That affects people who lose jobs and people within the organization who remain," she said.


That's why there's a growing need for Agrace HospiceCare's grief in the workplace seminars, Cain said.


"If I'm an employee being affected by what's happening in the workplace, just knowing I could contact Agrace and find out what is available is really important. It's a great organization if you've gone through cutbacks. They let people know what their resources are," she said.


Agrace HospiceCare does not charge for its seminars.


"This is part of our outreach programming and our way of being able to give back to the community that has been good to support us," Brown said.


GRIEF IN THE WORKPLACE

A community education program that explains how to help employees, supervisors and managers will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, at Agrace HospiceCare, 3001 W. Memorial Drive, Janesville.


Advance registration is requested by calling (608) 755-1871.


Grief support is available to anyone in the community, regardless of how the loss occurred. Information about grief support groups, including schedules, can be found at agracehospicecare.org. Reservations are required by calling (608) 755-1871.


To learn more


For more information about the Corporate Ambassador Program, call Lisa Brown at (608) 755-1871.



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