Hospice of the Western Reserve Becomes First Hospice in the U.S. to Partner with Grief Coach

Categories: Care and Community Engagement.

Innovative New Partnership Adds Personalized Text Messaging Support for the Bereaved

Cleveland, Ohio (July 6, 2020) – This month, Hospice of the Western Reserve (HWR), became the first hospice in the U.S. to enhance its existing grief support services by adding text messaging as an option for the bereaved. The new service – available exclusively to any families whose loved ones were patients of HWR June 1 or later – is being offered in conjunction with Grief Coach, a Seattle-based company that is the first in North America to deliver grief support via text message.

HWR is a recognized leader in the provision of hospice care in the U.S. Their 15-person bereavement team provides grief support services for more than 6,000 hospice families every year, as well as for the community at large.

“More than ever, it is critical that we find innovative new ways to care for people after a loss,” said Bill Finn, President and CEO. “The texting capabilities provided by Grief Coach are particularly meaningful during the COVID crisis, a time when many of the more traditional ways of providing in-person grief support are on hold. Our bereavement team will now have the ability to offer personalized, text-based support to the thousands of hospice families we care for each year. This service adds a valuable new communications channel to the care we currently provide, such as individual support, grief support groups, a private Facebook group, grief support newsletters and a library of online resources.”

Diane Snyder Cowan, Director of the Western Reserve Grief Services, oversees HWR’s bereavement programs and also leads the Bereavement Professionals community of the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals. She first learned about Grief Coach in December, and was impressed by the carefully crafted, thoughtful and personal texts being delivered to people grieving suicide, cancer, overdose, stillbirth and many other deaths.

“I’ve been doing this work for a long time,” Snyder Cowan said, “and I know the challenges that hospices and other organizations face in needing to support thousands of grieving families. With COVID limitations, our in-person visits and support groups are temporarily suspended. It’s wonderful that these caring, well-timed personal messages can now go out to all of our families. They can add in their friends and family, too. Grief Coach gives our bereavement coordinators a way to ensure that none of our family members have to grieve alone.”

“I’m honored to be working with the experienced, compassionate team at Hospice of the Western Reserve,” said Emma Payne, Grief Coach’s Founder and CEO. “Bereavement coordinators work so hard to provide care and support after a loss, so I love that Grief Coach makes it easy for them to connect with grieving families, and to reach them more often. We send texts at least twice a week, for 13 months, because grief lasts a long time.”

Next month Finn, Snyder-Cowan and their team will extend the Grief Coach service to five other hospices in Ohio who participate as members of the Care Solutions Network of Ohio.

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About Hospice of the Western Reserve
Hospice of the Western Reserve provides palliative and end-of-life care, caregiver support, and bereavement services throughout Northern Ohio. In celebration of the individual worth of each life, we strive to relieve suffering, enhance comfort, promote quality of life, foster choice in end- of-life care, and support effective grieving. To learn more, visit Hospice of the Western Reserve.

About Grief Coach
Grief Coach sends personalized text messages to help people after someone dies. Grieving people receive resources and tips all year long to help them feel less alone. If they have friends and family who want to help but aren’t sure how, Grief Coach texts them suggestions too. Grief Coach also works with nonprofits, hospices, tissue banks, employers, and others who provide bereavement support. To learn more, visit Grief Coach.