The Kentucky Hospice Network (KHN) is proud to host this virtual inservice on Thursday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. EST. Registration is available online.

Joelle Osterhaus, LCSW, LICSW, ACHP-SW, and Karen Monts will lead an important and timely discussion on how the COVID-19 pandemic affects grief and bereavement and how organizations can adapt and respond.

Joelle Osterhaus is the Hospice & Palliative Care Psychosocial Services Manager at Kaiser Permanente Northwest. She is also the leader of NHPCO’s Bereavement Professionals Community and serves on the NHPCO Bereavement Steering Committee. Karen Monts is Director of Grief Support Services and Practice Manager of Counseling Services at Northstar Community Care (Hospice of Michigan / Arbor Hospice). She serves as a member of NHPCO’s Bereavement Steering Committee.


1.8 continuing education units are available for social work and nursing via Hospice Care Plus (nursing), #5-0046 exp. 12/31/21, and Community Hospice (social work), #KBSWSP-2021010 exp. 1/15/22. To receive continuing education credit, each participate must 1) submit a license number, 2) attend the entire virtual workshop, and 3) complete an evaluation by 5 p.m. EST on June 3, 2021. Certificates will only be emailed to those who meet all three criteria.


Free for KHN member hospices. $75 per person for non-member hospices. Please contact Brenna to make payment at 859-986-1500. Refunds are available when cancellation is received by May 26 or in the event of cancellation. For non-KHN member reservation payment, contact Brenna at 859-986-1500.


This inservice is appropriate for bereavement professionals, program managers and directors, administrators, and hospice & palliative team members who wish to support the bereaved.


By the end of the inservice, participants will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the experience of grief in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Identify the unique challenges of vulnerable groups, including children.
  3. List opportunities for re-imagining bereavement care in response to the pandemic.


Review: Historical Context of Hospice & Bereavement Care

Overview: Pandemic Impact & Trends in Observed Grief Experience (before and after death)

Early Pandemic Bereavement Program Responses and Adaptations

  • Shifts in patterns of access to grief services in frequency, type, and duration
  • Bereavement programs adaptations to deliver services (calls, groups, memorials, staffing)

Clinical Considerations of Grief in the Pandemic

  • Normal grief
  • Grief overload
  • “Pandemic grief” (Lee and Neimeyer)
  • Prolonged grief disorder
  • Current discourse and continuum of care implications

Disproportionate Bereavement Impact of COVID-19 and the Social Context

  • Vulnerable populations
  • Children and teens
  • Minorities, especially minority children (e.g. “suffocated grief”)
  • Older adults
  • Immunocompromised

Ah-Ha Moments in Bereavement Care Teams

  • Opportunities for reimagining services
  • Ethical frameworks for development

Breakout Sessions

  • Small-group discussions


  • “This is the moment:” How do we respond in the most critical moment?
  • Review of resources