Media Release - Australian Government appoints Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement to deliver COVID-19 bereavement support services

19 October 2020

he Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) welcomes the Australian Government's $12.4 million Grief and Trauma Response Package to ensure support is available for those affected by COVID-19 across the aged care sector.

As part of the package, ACGB will receive $5.5 million to deliver a COVID-19 Aged Care Bereavement Support Service for aged care residents, home care recipients, their families and those who have been impacted by COVID-19. Services will include:
- a national toll-free telephone service linking callers with specialist bereavement practitioners;
- telehealth and face to face counselling services; and 
- specialist grief and bereavement information including online training and webinars for facilities, residents, staff and community organisations.

ACGB Board Chair, Stuart Rechner, welcomed today's announcement, saying "ACGB is well placed to roll out this national program".

"As the peak body in the field of bereavement support in Australia and with 25 years' experience in delivering specialist bereavement support services and education, ACGB is ready to provide this additional grief and bereavement support to the aged care sector," Mr Rechner said.

Mr Rechner said that "The impacts of bereavement can be far-reaching, and I am pleased the Australian Government has committed to the provision of practical grief and bereavement care. We take the responsibility given to us very seriously."

ACGB CEO Christopher Hall said that "ACGB would rapidly build build and launch this new service. An additional 20 specialist bereavement counsellors and four intake clinicians will provide bereavement support to aged care facilities throughout Australia".

"With public health health guidelines currently limiting access to aged care facilities, many families are feeling a sense of helplessness in visiting and supporting their elderly friends and relatives. This is particularly distressing if the older person is unwell or known to be approaching the end of their life. Healthcare workers are dealing with multiple layers of grief and loss. Bereavement resulting from the death of a resident and working with bereaved relatives can be significant burdens for those working in this sector. Managing mental health and psychosocial well-being during this pandemic is as vital as managing our physical health”, Mr Hall said.

The Aged Care COVID-19 grief and bereavement support service can be contacted on 1800 22 22 00.

Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Media release from Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck (Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Minister for Youth and Sport).