Grief and trauma support and advice for the aged care sector

COVID-19 has impacted many people living, working, and caring in the aged care sector. This includes aged care residents, home care recipients, their families, families of choice, friends, loved ones, community visitors and aged care staff.

14 Jul 2021

Some people may be experiencing grief and bereavement because they have lost a loved one or someone they care for due to COVID-19. Others in aged care may be experiencing grief or loss due to the COVID-19 hotspot lockdowns and restrictions experienced in aged care:

  • missing their visitors and routines,

  • absent regular staff; or

  • unable to celebrate important events.

The lockdowns, social isolation and ongoing uncertainty may have caused emotional trauma. COVID-19 and the associated restrictions may have raised past trauma, for example from their home country, childhood, or past pandemic occurrences. While some people can work through these feelings and recover, others may need help.

It’s ok to seek help. The Australian Government has funded mental health, grief, trauma, and education experts to produce online resources and training modules and support you either in-person or on the phone.

Support for grief, loss, and bereavement

Many older people using aged care, their loved ones, and the staff that care for them may be experiencing grief, loss, or bereavement because of COVID-19. The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement provides support, advice, and counselling in a one-to-one or group setting through phone calls, video calls and in person.

You can free call 1800 22 22 00 for phone counselling, advice on how to help your organisation or people you care for. Visit for resources. Download the ‘My Grief’ app for tips on how to help yourself, and how to support a loved one.

Resources about the impacts of trauma

COVID-19 may have exposed old or new emotional trauma. While some people recover, others may develop mental health problems and need help.

Phoenix Australia are trauma and education experts, and have developed information, tools, guidance, videos, and self-care strategies. The resources are free and available to people living and working in aged care, their friends, family and loved ones.

Go to to download fact sheets, view webinars and use training.

Help for people living with dementia where behaviours are impacting their care

Aged care residents living with dementia may have changed behaviors because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Dementia Support Australia has a free national service providing 24-hour help, 7 days a week.  Specialised engagement consultants, clinical support, plans and strategies, advice and information services are available to people who care for someone living with dementia.

Need help managing changed behaviours? Call 1800 699 799 or visit

Advocacy and support

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is independent of Government and aged care providers. OPAN supports people receiving or applying for Government-subsidised aged care. The network offers free and confidential advocacy, COVID-19 advisory support and referral services for senior Australians accessing aged care, and their families and friends.

Call OPAN on 1800 700 600, 6am-10pm, 7 days a week, or visit

Free, confidential, and accessible

All services and products are free, confidential and respect your culture, religion, identity, and lifestyles. Translated brochures and posters are available for download and to order in print on the program resources page

Interpreting is also available, call 131 450 for Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS), ask for your language to connect. Or call 1300 010 877 for Auslan Connections, email, fax 07 3892 8511 or SMS 0407 647 591.

Complementing existing mental health supports

The Grief and Trauma Support Program complements existing Australian Government-supported mental health services. Crisis support is available from Lifeline and Beyond Blue, see Health to Health for more services or see your GP.

For more information

Visit the Australian Government Department of Health website or contact:

Download the Grief and trauma trifold brochure

Download the Grief and trauma support program poster


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