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We are safely resuming in-person appointments. Learn about safety measures, testing, and COVID-19.

Employee and Family Well-being Resources: COVID 19

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The COVID-19 global pandemic is taking a physical, mental and emotional toll on all of us. Balancing our work with concerns for ourselves and our families is not easy. However, there are ways we can make things a little bit easier. Below are resources to help you and your family maintain well-being during this difficult time.

Need some support right now? Master's level clinicians from your WorkLife and EAP Support program are available 24/7/365 at 1-800-888-6332. They will help you get the confidential support you need. For a few quick tips on how to cope with feelings of unrest, in the wake of recent traumatic events, read this article from your WorkLife and EAP Support program.

Looking for Baystate Health COVID- 19 Updates?  Get the latest information about novel coronavirus policy changes, resources, news, and messaging from leadership on The Hub/Departments/COVID 19

Quick Print Guide to Take Home With You   - These packets were printed and distributed at various locations in April.

This website is being updated regularly. Check back often for updated and added resources.

Resources to Help You Cope and Feel Better

Mental and Emotional Well-being Resource Flyer

Print the summary of mental and emotional well-being resources flyer.

Emotional Support Hotline

Baystate's COVID-19 Employee Hotline (413-794-6045) has an ‘option 4’ for 24/7 confidential emotional support staffed by licensed social workers. This phone support offers a place for you to receive therapeutic listening, guidance for processing daily stressors, coping and relaxation techniques, address compassion fatigue and get referrals to other resources, and other emotional support.  As of June 1, all option 4 calls will be transferred directly to Magellan Health, our new EAP provider. 

Caring for the Caregiver in a Time of Crisis Workshops

In response to the pandemic, a series of workshops were developed internally to increase awareness and understanding of emotional distress, strengthen and build coping skills and learn ways to adapt and manage grief. The three workshops, Pandemic Response Resilience, Skills for Resilience and Recovery and Coping with Grief and Bereavement During COVID-19 are designed with all team members in mind. See below for a description of each workshop and instructions on how to participate. These programs were developed under Caring for the Caregiver in a Time of Crisis series, through the department of Psychiatry.

Pandemic Response Resilience Workshop

During a pandemic response we are at risk for emotional distress and when left unchecked can leave us feeling overwhelmed, anxious, restless, and depleted. This program is designed to help you; identify the signs of psychological distress and how to prevent it, build and enhance resiliency coping skills, and gain awareness of the array of resources available to support your emotional and mental well-being.

There are 2 versions of this workshop

  •  Workshop for Caregivers/Frontline Intact Work Teams  - Healthcare workers are at risk for emotional distress which is a function of the unique challenges of the role.  This workshop focuses on the needs of patient care and frontline workers who experience many common stressors like the uncertainty of resources, PPE, contracting the illness, patient deaths, ethical challenges, changes in workflow, to name a few.  Individuals interested in attending a WebEx workshop, or managers interested in scheduling a private session for team/workgroup, should contact Giselle Hernandez at Giselle.Hernandez@baystatehealth.org.   The program is led by facilitators through the department of Psychiatry.
  • Workshop for All Team Members - This latest version of the workshop is geared towards all team members who are not providing direct patient care or working on the frontlines.  If you find yourself struggling with managing the stressors and emotional toll of this pandemic like the overall uncertainty of what is next, significant changes in the routines at work and home, loss of normalcy, health and safety fears or one of the other many common stressors, this is the workshop for you. It is led Bob Oldenburg MSW and Tina Kalashian MSW, LICSW.   Managers can schedule a private workshop for their team/workgroup by contacting Jenna Bishop at Jennafer.Bishop@baystatehealth.org.

Skills for Resilience and Recovery Workshop

The skills needed for building resilience and recovery can change after the immediate aftermath of a pandemic response has passed. This program is designed to reduce distress, identify existing coping skills, improve functioning, and potentially lower the need for formal mental health treatment.  Resilience is an ability that can be strengthened through the implementation of skills and strategies in the weeks, months and years after an adverse event has occurred. Participants will be taught a variety skills in order to develop an action plan to move forward and accelerate recovery while also increasing self-competence.  Individuals interested in attending a WebEx workshop, or managers interested in scheduling a private session for team/workgroup, should contact Giselle Hernandez at Giselle.Hernandez@baystatehealth.org.  

 

Cultivating Resilience: Coping with Grief and Bereavement During COVID-19

The COVID-19 epidemic has lead us many of us to experience significant and cumulative loss. From our own personal loss, to mourning the loss of patients, and mourning our sense of normalcy, we are experiencing ongoing individual and collective grief.  Further, our coping resources are under constant strain making it more challenging to cope with loss and bereavement through our traditional rituals and social supports. The new workshop: will acknowledge this grief, help participants learn ways to adapt and manage it, as well as make meaning from their experiences. Participants will learn ways to cope and process their grief by increasing compassion satisfaction, honoring those lost, and engaging in new social supports.  Individuals interested in attending a WebEx workshop, or managers interested in scheduling a private session for team/workgroup, should contact Giselle Hernandez at Giselle.Hernandez@baystatehealth.org.  

 

Moment of Renewal - Every Friday on Workplace

You are invited to take 10 minutes for calm and renewal at noon every Friday at Noon. Join Spiritual Services on the Workplace Events Group for this series of Friday virtual gatherings.  The first one took place today!  To view it now, you can locate this video on the events page.

 

Memory Wall

A Tribute to Loved Ones Lost, a group on Workplace, is a place to pay tribute to the memory of loved ones lost and to express condolences to your colleagues who have shared a loss. We encourage you to share a memory as part of this this new group.

 

Compassionate Caring - through BMC Spiritual Services

In-the-moment care provides a short period of rest or relief and can support needs around; loss of a patient or challenges with patient care, loss of a co-worker or  personal loss and bereavement, prayer and blessing, moral distress, workplace violence, struggle with purpose, staff memorial services, spiritual resources in the community, and more. Chaplains round the BMC nursing units regularly and during this time they are available for this in-the-moment support. They are also available by phone (413-794-2899) or pager (42899) for 24/7, confidential spiritual support for team members across the organization during the pandemic.

Talking Through Concerns with a Counselor or Coach

It's more important now than ever to do what we can to control unwanted feelings that so often accompany uncertainty. A confidential counseling or coaching session can help you learn the coping skills needed to feel better.

Counseling & Concierge Service
Choose from a national network of licensed professionals trained to help with common challenges such as stress, anxiety, grief, marital/family relationship concerns, parenting, addictions and more.  Immediate support also available if in crisis.  Learn more about your new WorkLife & EAP Support program.

Coaching
Coaches can help you work on solutions for a variety of issues including handling work stress, parenting, not getting enough sleep and more.  Learn more about your new WorkLife & EAP Support program.

 

Learn quick tips for preventing Compassion Fatigue and other Coping Tips for Adults.

 

meQuilibrium (meQ) Online Program and App

meQuilibrium is an online, clinically validated stress management and resilience skill building platform.  The program is highly personalized and helps you uncover your natural thinking and response styles.  Your personal meQ journey includes daily practices,  guided meditations, self-care activities, daily tips for dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the current climate, and 2 new skill modules:  Dealing With Uncertainty and Ease Your Loneliness     Experience a sampling of what meQ has to offer!

For full access to meQ resources, you must first initiate the connection through your WebMD portal- after that, download the app! Within the link above, select the Unlock button. Once logged into your WebMD portal, select the meQ card from the homepage. meQ is provided at no cost to all benefits-eligible employees.

Magellan Health’s Digital Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (DCBT) Apps

When it comes to your emotional health, online programs help you learn and practice skills so you can feel better on your own time. These self-guided DCBT programs are confidential and address anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder,  and substance use disorder .

FearFighter® -Anxiety, Panic, and Phobia
MoodCalmer - Depression and Low Mood
Restore® - Insomnia and Sleep Problems
Comfortable® -Chronic Pain
OCFighter Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Shade -Addiction: Alcohol/Drug Use

To obtain access code for the Magellan Health apps, first create an account at MagellanAscend.com.  Once on the website, create an online account to have full and confidential access to these resources. 

  1. Select the blue Find My Company/Log In - upper right
  2. Select the tab "Log In"
  3. Select "Sign Up"
  4. Complete the registration form
  5. Select "Get Started", then visit the Self-care program page and click "Begin an assessment"

Take care of your basic needs

In order to function mentally and physically at your best, you need to allow your body and mind time to recover. Pay attention to your bodies cues and do the best you can to remain well rested, well fed, physically active and clear-minded. Explore the programs and resources available through Baystate Healthy to find ways to optimize your overall health and well-being.

 

WebMD Health Coaching

WebMD Health Coaches provide help eating healthier, losing weight, exercising, sleeping better or reaching whichever goals you have.  Learn more.

 

Give Your Physical Energy a Boost

Exercise to Relax

Exercise is key for your head, just as it is for your heart.  Visit our Fitness page to find self-guided videos (stretch break, resistance band exercises, etc). 

 

Staying Connected

Socially distant does not mean socially separated.  It can be stressful and isolating not being able to connect with people as we normally would. Read more on Coping with Isolation from Magellan Health and try out some of the tips below to stay connected.

• Socializing with friends and family via video chats such as Group FaceTime,  SkypeZoom and others can provide a level of visibility and connection that supports good mental well-being during this challenging time. Try inviting your family and friends to a virtual "happy hour" to spend time together and engage in happy conversation.
• Look at photo albums and discuss family heritage or create a family tree
• Write letters to/create cards for relatives

Tune into the C.A.R.E Channel and Experience the Healing Power of Nature

Healing Healthcare Systems® has extended all of their online C.A.R.E Programming content to Baystate Health employees and anyone you would like to share this calming resource with. The website offers a library of exclusive video images of nature to music to create a healing space for you, in addition there is guided imagery for general relaxation, specialty programs such as guided imagery for post-trauma, as well as imagery programming designed for children. We hope that by watching C.A.R.E. Programming you will find a moment to yourself to breathe deeply and renew your spirit. Access from any computer or mobile device: https://stream.carechannel.net. Enter passcode: care4355.

Look for the Positive

There is kindness and compassion surrounding you. Look for the silver linings and find the good in every encounter you have. Focusing on the positive and building on that positivity will help you get through this difficult time. Check out the Little Bits Of Kindness group on Workplace to read and share stories to brighten everyone's day!

Expect every day to be different

Recognize that stress, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed can have an impact on how you make sense of things or process information. To help with this, try to limit your information streams to only a few sources that you know and trust. Check out CDC.gov and who.int for daily updates on pertinent COVID-19 information.

Webinars and Podcasts

Timely and actionable content with immediate actions you can take to begin to feel better.  See Webinars and Podcasts in the section below.

 

 

 

Webinars and Podcasts

Live Webinars

Caring for the Caregiver in a Time of Crisis - In response to the pandemic, Baystate has develop three workshops: Pandemic Response Resilience, Skills for Resilience and Recovery, and Coping with Grief and Bereavement. For more information or to enroll, visit the tab above Resources to Help You Cope and Feel Better.

On Demand Webinars and Podcasts

  • Present Moment Meditation - This 7 minute meditation is recorded by Feline O'Gorman, Baystate Health employee and certified yoga instructor. 
  • Boost Your Immunity with These Nutritional Tips During this pandemic, families are spending more time at home than ever before but are we using it to create a healthier lifestyle? Join best-selling author and founder of Just Wellness, LLC, Dr. Ann Kulze as we discuss top ways to boost our immune system, the benefits of planning ahead and tips to improve nutritional habits. Learn how to accomplish all of this on a tight budget and have some family fun in the kitchen along the way! This webinar is available through the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), one of the nation’s most-respected resources for building high-performing, healthy workplaces.
  • How to build resilience and adaptive skills during the pandemic In this webinar by Magellan Healthcare, Dr. Carney, Magellan’s Chief Medical Officer, will share insights on why people are feeling stress and panic and give tips on how to build resiliency. She will also discuss ways to help children cope and thrive, when it may be time to seek help and the importance of acceptance and adaptation skills to manage through the pandemic. 
  • Overcome Worry: Managing Anxiety and Worry during Uncertain Times  It is normal to feel worried, anxious, unsettled, distracted, scared and/or overwhelmed by COVID-19. We all worry from time to time, although excessive worry can affect us emotionally and physically. This recordings will help you identify your thought patterns that lead you to worry and provide a formula you can use to overcome worry. Use the webinar handout to learn how to coach yourself out of worry.

 

FINANCIAL FOCUS

  • Investor Education: Strategies During Volatile Markets Financial markets are volatile whenever the future earnings of companies, the stability of industries or the direction of global economies are uncertain. So when this happens, what do you do? Each webinar in this series will spend a few minutes reviewing updates to government and corporate actions intended to stabilize the markets, with the majority of time centered on investing principles, plus current investment opportunities and challenges. Investment themes addressed will be those most often brought up by our members.
  • Budgeting When Income is Uncertain- Millions of Americans are seeing their income become increasingly unpredictable. The good news is that there are many new programs trying to help. Each webinar in this series will begin with a few minutes covering government-based programs and nationwide resources as they develop. The next 20 minutes or so will focus on specific budgeting tactics, student loan repayment strategies and debt/credit tips that can help during these challenging times. 
  • Financial Impacts of COVID-19   Covers current announcements related to legislation and take a deeper dive into retirement, investing and rebalancing portfolios as well as answering your questions about working through the financial challenges you may face in the coming days and weeks.

     

To view any of the webinars below, you must first open your Google Chrome web browser (the link will not work on Internet Explorer) and click here for LifeCare Webinars.

  • Best Practices for Working Remotely
  • Living in Uncertain Times
  • Talking to Your Child about Coronavirus

Resources to Manage Financial Challenges

Depending on your situation, you may experience personal financial challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Consider these tips and resources to help you work through financial decisions and challenges that you may face in the weeks ahead.

 

Financial Coaching 

Get help with your finances from a financial coaching consultant, through Baystate’s WorkLife and EAP Support program.  The program includes 2 free 30-minute telephone consultations, per issue, per year, and discounted fees if you elect to continue working with a financial coach beyond initial consultations.  Additionally, there are online tools and resources to help with budget planning, debt and credit, taxes and loan and mortgage assistance. Call our new partner, Magellan, at 800-888-6332. 

For other financial resources and information, visit the Financial Well-being page.

 

Financial Support through Financial Finesse

The coronavirus pandemic is causing fear and uncertainty in our economy. This website resource is available to help you navigate any financial changes you are facing.

  • Updates on current COVID-19 government programs
  • Action Planning based on your current financial situation
  • Articles and Resources related to COVID-19 and your finances

Visit their website: financialfinesse.com/covid-19

 

Financial Well-being Educational Webinar Trainings

  • Investor Education: Strategies During Volatile Markets Financial markets are volatile whenever the future earnings of companies, the stability of industries or the direction of global economies are uncertain. So when this happens, what do you do? Each webinar in this series will spend a few minutes reviewing updates to government and corporate actions intended to stabilize the markets, with the majority of time centered on investing principles, plus current investment opportunities and challenges. Investment themes addressed will be those most often brought up by our members.
  • Budgeting When Income is Uncertain- Millions of Americans are seeing their income become increasingly unpredictable. The good news is that there are many new programs trying to help. Each webinar in this series will begin with a few minutes covering government-based programs and nationwide resources as they develop. The next 20 minutes or so will focus on specific budgeting tactics, student loan repayment strategies and debt/credit tips that can help during these challenging times. 
  • Financial Impacts of COVID-19   Covers current announcements related to legislation and take a deeper dive into retirement, investing and rebalancing portfolios as well as answering your questions about working through the financial challenges you may face in the coming days and weeks.

     

PerkSpot Discount Center – Discounts on Necessities

All Baystate Health employees and their family members have access to the online discount center; PerkSpot. And now, you can also invite your friends and relatives to check out PerkSpot and take advantage of these exclusive promotions. Whether you’re seeking a discount on groceries from places like Thrive Market, Blue Apron, Home Chef, household items from places like Costco, Grove Collaborative, Sam’s Club, and more! Visit baystate.perkspot.com and sign up to access these discounts today!

Baystate Health team member support

Get the latest information about novel coronavirus policy changes, resources, news, and messaging from leadership on The Hub/Departments/COVID 19

Local Community Services

Search for free or reduced cost services like food, housing, government benefits, job training for family members, etc.  Search now on 413Cares.org.

Parents: Visit Your Local School District

Visit your school’s website or call your local school officials for information on ways they are supporting displaced students. For example, many area schools are offering free meals to all students during the closures and lending laptop/tablet devices to families without, so that students can complete online coursework during the closure.

 

Resources available in our Western Mass Community

All employees, their dependents, and household family members have access to WorkLife and EAP Support. This program includes 24/7 access to specialists who will research resources in the community that you need most. Call 800-888-6332 to get personalized assistance locating and researching resources in your community.

In addition this guide includes community resources for children and families in Western Massachusetts regarding:

  • Food
  • Education
  • Community Programs and much more

 


Resources for Parents

Child Care Programs Reopening in Massachusetts

Child and youth serving programs may begin reopening in Phase 2 of Massachusetts reopening plan. Some Exempt Emergency Child Care Providers (EECCPs) may continue to operate through June to support essential workers with no other option for child care. The YMCA of Greater Springfield is ending its Exempt Emergency Child Care program for Baystate employees on June 26. The center will resume providing regular, non-emergency services to the community.  

If you are an essential worker seeking Exempt Emergency Child Care through June, click here.

If you are seeking ongoing child care, back-up care, summer camps, before/after school programs, extracurricular programs, or any other type of child care solution; a specialist from WorkLife and EAP Support can help make it easier by doing the search for you. Your specialist will consider your needs and requirements for care and make phone calls to providers to help you find a match. They will ask questions about cost, availability, hours of operation, and any other specific points that are important to you. Specialists are available at no-cost through your WorkLife and EAP Support program. Call WorkLife and EAP Support at 800-888-6332 and ask to speak with a “WorkLife Parenting Specialist.”

Please keep in mind that child care providers were permitted to submit their plans for reopening to the state starting Monday, June 15. Child care programs will resume only after conditional approval from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has been granted. If your worklife specialist is not able to find a program for your child the first time you call, you can resubmit your request at a later date, when additional programs are approved to reopen.

Connecticut Residents:

Child care programs have been allowed to remain open during the pandemic. However, many programs have had to close, leaving families with fewer options. For information and resources, visit the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.

Workplace Group to Connect Employees with Childcare Needs

A special group has been set up on Workplace to connect Baystate Health employees who need back-up child care in response to COVID-19 related school and daycare closings. The group is called “It Takes a Village- Employee Child Care Share.” Use this forum to connect with one another to help find solutions to your child care needs.  Let others know if you are looking for a babysitter. Share if you know of a sitter you can refer someone to. Visit the Workplace site: “It Takes a Village Employee Child Care Share”

Childcare Agencies

Local and national care agencies can help you find verified babysitters and nannies in your area. Many agencies charge fees for these services. However, national care agencies like Care.com and Sittercity.com are eliminating (for healthcare workers) or reducing monthly membership fees.

Family, friends, and others

You may need to turn to family and friends for more creative solutions to your back-up childcare needs. Consider others who have a sitter/nanny, who you might be able to share and split the cost with. Or maybe your neighbor has a college student home that you could ask? Keeping everyone safe - With social distancing of utmost importance, everyone involved in your child care solution should be very mindful about how best to avoid the possible spread of COVID-19.  Make sure to ask any potential caregivers about how they are protecting themselves and make sure they know to tell you if they have any symptoms or any other reason to believe they could be at risk of being exposed to the virus.

Parenting Support Groups on Facebook

Peer support groups can help you share information and provide emotional support to one another as parents.  Be mindful to only seek health and safety related information from trusted resources like the CDC and WHOSome of the popular parenting groups on Facebook include Mommy Poppins, Mom Squad and Baystate’s New Beginnings.

Helping Your Child Cope

The resources below provide helpful, age-appropriate information to help you talk to your children about the current times.

Helping Children Cope After a Traumatic Event - Magellan Health

Talking to Children about Diversity - Magellan Health

Helping Children Cope with a Disaster- Magellan Health

Coping When Cooped Up - Magellan Health

Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource- NASP

Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus - Child Mind Institute

For Healthcare Worker's: Answering My Child's Questions About Going to Work (adapted from the CDC)

Coping Plans for Families

Is Your Family Stressed? Take the Quiz - Magellan Health

 

Reducing Your Family's Risk

Remind your children to practice these important preventive behaviors. We’ve included suggestions on how you can explain “why” these behaviors are so important for them to follow. 

  • Hand Washing – wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (sing the A-B-C’s or their favorite song) especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • No touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Social Distancing - Avoiding close contact with others (keep at least 6 feet distance). Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or with the bend/crook of the arm when coughing or sneezing. Why? When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID- 19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

 

Learning at Home

Keep a schedule

One of the best ways to make sure your child’s time off from school is successful is to maintain a regular schedule, as much as possible. Keeping with a structured time for meals, learning and play will help keep your child on course. You may have to remind your children that this school closure is not the same as a “snow day.” Things like getting together with friends sound like a great way to spend a day off, but in order to “flatten the curve” and move past this outbreak, we all need to do our part to stay apart, as much as possible.

School assignments during closure

Depending on your child’s age and your school district, you may have instructions for online learning during the closure. If you do not currently have internet at home, Charter is offering free internet and WIFI during this time. Call 844-488-8395

Online learning resources

Check with your local library or school district for online learning resources. In addition, many companies are offering free online learning tools right now, see these free resources compiled by the Today show. Search the internet to find a program that best suits your family. Check out these Virtual Field Trips ideas and other Learning Resources for Kids, from our partner LifeCare.

Access to Essential Groceries and Paper Products

Healthcare Heroes Pop-Up Market Opens for Employees Working on Campus  

As of Wednesday, April 8, employees working at Baystate Health facilities can buy select groceries and essential items at pop-up markets located at five Baystate Health entities. Baystate Health and Compass One initiated the Pop-Up Market in response to employees who expressed it would be a convenience to not have to travel to the grocery store after work. To simplify life a little more, Baystate Health also increased the amount you can payroll deduct by using your badge to shop at the Pop-up Market. The new limit is $250 per pay period, up from $99.

Pop-Up Market Locations and Hours of Operation:

Baystate Franklin Medical Center Cafeteria
Monday - Friday, 6:45 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 6:45 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Baystate Mary Lane Outpatient Center Cafeteria
Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Baystate Medical Center Atwater’s Cafe
Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.

Baystate Noble Hospital Cafe
Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Baystate Wing Hospital Cafeteria

Sunday – Saturday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

 

PerkSpot Discount Center – Discounts on Necessities

All Baystate Health employees and their family members have access to the online discount center; PerkSpot. And now, you can also invite your friends and relatives to check out PerkSpot and take advantage of these exclusive promotions. Whether you’re seeking a discount on groceries from places like Thrive Market, Blue Apron, Home Chef, household items from places like Costco, Grove Collaborative, Sam’s Club, and more! Visit baystate.perkspot.com and sign up to access these discounts today!

Health Foods with a Long Shelf Life

Often, we think of the healthiest foods as the ones that don’t last very long. And that can be true, but there are plenty of healthy foods that have a longer shelf life, making it easier for you to space out your grocery store trips, thereby limiting your exposure to the public. Read this article from WW for a list of healthy food items that can last up to two weeks or more!

 

Resources to Support Grief and Loss

The hearts and spirits of many employees are burdened by the loss of loved ones and the worry and sadness that comes with the loss of normalcy brought on by COVID-19. In an effort to lighten the burden, Baystate Health has put a number of supports in place to help you cope. For a printer-friendly version of the resources below, click here.

The constant flurry of news updates, current events and disruptions to our daily life can take a toll on your own emotional well-being.  Many of us think of grief as it relates to death but forget that grief is really the natural response to loss or change. Whether it’s the loss of normal routines, trips, or events that we planned, separation from friends and family or our sense of safety, the emotion that we experience is also a form of grief. These feelings may be more intense for those with memories of past losses or traumas.

Things to remember:
• It is normal to feel sad and overwhelmed when your life and routine is disrupted.
• It is normal to be worried, lonely or frightened during times of uncertainty.
• It is normal to worry about the safety of your loved ones or yourself.
But...
...things will get better and we will get through this.
...people will find a way to come together and help each other.
...you have gotten through other difficult and stressful situations. You can get through this too!

Things you can do:

  • Allow yourself time to grieve- Take a moment to cry or process your grief through another outlet such as art, music, or journaling.
  • Share how you are feeling with others- Many people will be sharing similar feelings of disappointment, isolation, or sadness. You are not in this alone.
  • Stay connected to your social circles- Use technology such as video chats to “visit” with loved ones. Plan phone calls to keep in touch with family and friends while isolated.
  • Celebrate even when an event is canceled-  Acknowledge the spirit of the event by writing a letter or creating something to honor an important milestone.  If possible reschedule the event for a later time.
  • Keep a routine- Have a schedule 7 days a week. Don’t over schedule but give yourself consistency in your days.
  • Practice self-care- Take time to do something you love, read a book, make time for exercise, shower daily. Eating and sleeping are also important in self-care.   Spend time together with the people who live in your home.
  • Limit your exposure to the Media- Choose a reliable source for information and designate a specific time to stay informed. Avoid constantly checking for updates and reading sensational headlines.
  • Speak with your PCP (or your own mental health clinician if you have one) if these feelings begin to impact your day to day life.

Cultivating Resilience: Coping with Grief and Bereavement During COVID-19  

The COVID-19 epidemic has lead us many of us to experience significant and cumulative loss. From our own personal loss, to mourning the loss of patients, and mourning our sense of normalcy, we are experiencing ongoing individual and collective grief.  Further, our coping resources are under constant strain making it more challenging to cope with loss and bereavement through our traditional rituals and social supports. The new workshop: will acknowledge this grief, help participants learn ways to adapt and manage it, as well as make meaning from their experiences. Participants will learn ways to cope and process their grief by increasing compassion satisfaction, honoring those lost, and engaging in new social supports.  To enroll click HERE  and search for the “Cultivating Resilience: Coping with Grief and Bereavement During COVID-19” under the Caring for Caregivers Workshop Options or you can sort by date in the top right.  For questions, email Giselle Hernandez Giselle.Hernandez@baystatehealth.org    View the flyer.

This program was developed under Caring for the Caregiver in a Time of Crisis series, through the department of Psychiatry.

 

Emotional Support Hotline

Through the end of May, the COVID-19 Employee Hotline (413-794-6045) has an ‘Option 4’ for 24/7 confidential, in-the-moment emotional support. The hotline is staffed by licensed social workers who can assist with a wide range of support such as therapeutic listening, guidance in processing daily stressors, learning ways to cope, relaxation techniques, addressing compassion fatigue and fears surrounding COVID at work and home and more.

Grief Counseling

Licensed therapists are available to help process grief. Many people who receive grief counseling report reduced mental health symptoms like long-term depression. Grief therapy can put you more in touch with your emotions, thoughts, and feelings which will transfer into many other parts in your life. Open to all employees and household members at no cost. Call WorkLife & EAP Support 24/7/365 at 800-888-6332.

Compassionate Caring

In-the-moment care provides a short period of rest or relief and can support needs around; loss of a patient or challenges with patient care, loss of a co-worker or personal loss and bereavement, prayer and blessing, moral distress, workplace violence, struggle with purpose, staff memorial services, spiritual resources in the community, and more. Chaplains round the BMC nursing units regularly and during this time they are available for this in-the-moment support. They are also available by phone 24/7 to provide confidential support all other team members across the organization during the pandemic at 413-794-2899 or pager 42899.

Moment of Renewal

Every Friday at noon, spoken words to bring about peace, hope and renewal of the spirit. These 10-minute virtual gatherings take place on Workplace Events Group. Past gatherings can be heard by searching on Moment of Renewal on Workplace Events.

Memory Wall

A Tribute to Loved Ones Lost, is a group on Workplace to pay tribute to the memory of loved ones you may have lost and to express condolences to colleagues who have shared a loss in this group. We invite you to share a memory as part of this this new group to honor a loved one you have lost.

Letting Go of Loss Guide

A comprehensive guide to support you and your family when a loved one passes.  The guide includes checklists, tips, to-do's and more.  To access the Guide to Letting Go of Loss, click here.

Working From Home

Tips for Remote Workers

Establish Your Workspace and Set it Up Ergonomically Correct
If you are fortunate to have a dedicated space in your home for a home office, this is the most effective location to use. If not, it doesn’t mean you can’t successfully work from home; you can create a similar environment by setting up a temporary workspace. Some suggestions to make a comfortable and effective space include:
 work surface at a comfortable height to write and use your computer and keyboard. 

1. Establish an ergonomically healthy workspace.  First off, avoid using the bed or sofa as your desk/office space.  The work surface height, your chair and body alignment are critically important to your longevity and your avoidance of headaches, back pain and neck and eye strain. For a full
2. Location:  A location that is out of the main traffic areas to limit audio and visual “noise.” and a place with an appropriate background in case you need to use a webcam or participate in a video chat.
3.torage and organizational materials.
•Basic office supplies that you most commonly use or need (such as pens, pencils, stapler, tape, etc.).

Stick to Your Routines
To the extent possible, maintaining your regular routine will help you get – and keep -- yourself in the right mindset for working. Consider the following tips:
•Get up at your regular time. Use the extra time you typically would have spent commuting to plan for your day, enjoy a cup of coffee or accomplish other tasks.
•Prep the same way you would for your usual work environment. Dress in clothing you would normally wear for work and stick to your usual routines. Not only will this help you get into a work mindset, you’ll be ready in the event you need to participate via video chat or conferencing.
•Maintain a regular meal schedule and eat healthy foods. Avoid the temptation to snack on treats that may be more easily accessible at home than at the office. You’ll feel better and fueling yourself with healthy foods will improve your focus.

Leverage Technology
Make certain your home tech will allow you to work effectively. Here are some strategies that can help:
•Make sure you have what you need. Talk to your manager to determine the equipment and software required to support effective telework. If you frequently collaborate, ensure your team members know what tools will be used such as video conferencing, instant messaging, etc.
•Review your home Internet bandwidth and speed. Is it sufficient to allow you to work efficiently while you when you are working at home? What if others who live with you are also home and online? Do you need to consider increasing these during the time that you are working from home?
•Do you need any “accessories” that will help you work more efficiently: a separate keyboard and mouse? A monitor?
•If possible, do a trial run. Invest a few minutes one evening to confirm you’re able to access your company network and applications, as well as any shared files.
•Visit Baystate's I&T Work From Home Training Site for resources and tools.

Maintain Boundaries
A common challenge faced by experience teleworkers is maintaining the balance between their personal and professional lives. Some suggestions to maintain healthy boundaries between your work and life include:

Keep focused. Distractions like household chores, kids, and other interruptions may prevent you from accomplishing as much as you want or need to. Having a defined workspace can help. In addition, establish specific times when you focus exclusively on work and keep interruptions and distractions to a minimum during those times. If you find yourself consistently challenged to maintain focus, make changes to ensure productivity.
Take brief but regular breaks. When working from home, it’s easy to get immersed in your work and forget to take regular breaks, which can lead to stress. Consider taking a short, brisk walk at lunchtime or stretching at your desk to relieve tension.
•Establish start and end times to your workday to avoid burnout. Some people may have a tendency to work longer hours when their workspace is constantly accessible. If this is an issue for you, once you’re done with work for the day, consider turning off the computer, turning on your voice mail, and shutting the door to your office space (if possible) to separate work time from family time.

Stay Connected
While working from home has many benefits, some teleworkers may find they feel isolated and disconnected from coworkers, clients and others. When you are working at home, you may have to put some extra effort into maintaining relationships. Consider these tips to stay connected when you work remotely:

Technology is your friend! Use tools like instant messaging, video chat and even a regular phone call to stay in touch with colleagues and others. Not only will you feel more connected, these direct interaction are often more productive for a complex or potentially difficult conversation.
Share calendars with coworkers so everyone knows where and when you are working and the best way(s) to reach you.
Stay connected to your workplace and team members by being available and responsive (e.g., answer calls and respond to emails promptly).
Avoid isolation. If you find you are starting to suffer from cabin fever, give yourself breaks and get out of the house or reach out to others. Go for a walk, run a quick errand, have a conversation with a loved one, take the dog for a walk, etc.

Set Family Expectations
Especially when you have not previously worked from home, your family may not understand that you are working. Although an occasional, brief interruption may provide a needed break, it’s important to stay focused and minimize distractions. Here are some strategies that may help:

•Explain to your children what it means to work at home and that your attention needs to be on your work.
•Communicate your telework schedule to family and friends and ask them to respect that time as dedicated to work.
•Set rules/expectations for behavior during work hours – especially related to interruptions.
•Ahead of time, plan activities to keep children busy.
•Plan for care arrangements if your child cannot go to school or child care. Similarly, plan for senior care options.

The experience of teleworking is very different from working in a traditional office setting, but with the challenges and uniqueness come benefits and opportunities. By setting guidelines and sticking to them, you can make teleworking a success!

3 Tips for Effective Remote Work Via Tech

Technology has opened up possibilities for communication and partnership with people outside of your building. Technology allows people who work in different offices – or even different parts of the country – to work together. In fact, you’ve probably collaborated with teammates who work remotely on more than one occasion. If you work on a team where your teammates are not located in the same place, you have probably experienced benefits, like differing perspectives and input from your coworkers in other areas. However, you may have also noticed that things can be more difficult when you and your coworkers aren’t all located in the same space. Even with the help of
Here are a few tips for working with teammates who are spread across different locations.
1. Connect on a Personal Level
To build camaraderie, it's important to make an effort to see your team members as unique individuals as opposed to just coworkers. Try building strong interpersonal connections with your teammates by:
•Starting off meetings by briefly chatting with coworkers about events happening in their lives, their hobbies, or relevant topics in their area, such as sporting events or new restaurant openings
•Scheduling in-person meetings when it’s possible, so you can get to know your teammates better
Knowing your team members on a deeper personal level can help you correctly interpret their language and behavior, which can prevent misunderstandings.
2. Think Before Writing, Sending, or Saying
Effective communication can make working together across distances much easier. Consider the message you're trying to convey before choosing how to deliver it. Different messages require different delivery methods.
When discussions may be complicated or personal in nature, understanding facial expressions, body language, and tone is essential. For example, if you need to discuss a sensitive topic such as performance feedback, you should try to have the conversation via video teleconference if an in-person meeting is not an option. However, if you're sending information that isn't sensitive in nature, such as a document template or a website link, instant messaging or emails may be fine.
3. Stay Ahead of Potential Conflict
Did you know that team members who are separated by location are more likely to experience conflict than those who aren't? This can happen because it's hard to interpret your teammates' actions if you can't see their day-to-day work environment.  For example, you might get frustrated with a coworker if you're expecting a quick response to an email and you don't receive one. But, you may be more understanding if you know the delay is due to a fire drill happening at your teammate's office.
Enabling and increasing spontaneous communication helps create better overall team awareness and reduce the likelihood of miscommunication and conflict. Here are some ways to encourage this type of communication:
•Send quick updates using instant messaging platforms
•Encourage a culture where phone and video calls are the norm
•Make sure all team members have equal access to information in a shared location, such as meetings notes and other important, relevant documents
By encouraging positive communication among team members – you can help increase morale and productivity.