Nursing: COVID-19 Loss, Grief, and Bereavement

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About the Course

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic (WHO, 2020c). Generally, social distancing has lessened the chance of individuals contracting the virus and it has also safeguarded the health care system (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2020). Social distancing and personal protective equipment have not prevented the tragic loss of life. In addition, physical distancing measures across the country have limited the ability of families to manage grief after a COVID-19 death (Denckla et al., n.d.). This course is for healthcare professionals who want to identify ways to support grieving individuals because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Characteristics that influence COVID-19 grief, bereavement, and mourning are identified. Policies such as social distancing may mitigate the impact of contracting the virus but increase risk factors for mental health issues and complicated grief (prolonged grief disorder). The course presents major theories and models of mourning as they relate to coping with COVID-19 ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief. 

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of the course, the learner will be able to:
  • Identify characteristics that influence COVID-19 grief, bereavement, and mourning.
  • Give examples of mental health consequences and grief reactions related to COVID-19.
  • Explain risk factors for complicated grief (prolonged grief disorder).
  • Differentiate the major theories and models of mourning as they relate to coping with COVID-19 related grief.
  • Review interventions for healthcare professionals to help bereaved families manage intense emotional pain.

About the Author:
Barbara Rubel, BS, MA, BCETS, DAAETS

Barbara Rubel, BS, MA, BCETS, DAAETS, is a nationally recognized keynote speaker and trainer on compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. Her programs motivate clinicians and healthcare providers to build personal resilience. Ms. Rubel is the author of the book, But I didn’t say goodbye: Helping families after a suicide, 3rd Edition and the 30-hour continuing education course for nurses, Loss, Grief, and Bereavement: Helping Individuals Cope, 4th Edition. She co-wrote the OVCTTAC training curriculum, Compassion Fatigue. Ms. Rubel received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Community Health, with a concentration in thanatology, from Brooklyn College. She is a board-certified expert in traumatic stress and diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Visit her website at  

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