Death and Dying Fellowship Model Shared as Continuing Education for Funeral Directors
On September 23rd, JHF COO/Chief Program Officer Nancy Zionts presented a two-hour continuing education session entitled "Grief in an Era of COVID-19" for over 200 funeral directors gathered in Cleveland, Ohio. While the funeral directors gathered in person, Nancy conducted the session via Zoom. The program initially was conceived after a member of the Ohio Embalmers Association read the 2018 Post-Gazette article regarding the JHF Feinstein Fellowship on Death and Dying. The funeral directors recognized that they, like health professionals, could use a deeper dive into how to have conversations with customers and families around the issues of legacy, celebration of life, mourning and death. Originally scheduled for March, the event was postponed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and in the past seven months, the funeral industry has had to completely redesign their work and services. In addition to sharing the components of JHF's Closure initiative and the D&D Fellowship, Nancy focused her presentation on how COVID-19 has changed the process of death and dying, the access of families to their ill loved ones, communal grief, grief interrupted or postponed, and the importance of self-care for professionals.