St Catherine’s and Unum launch bereavement toolkit

News and Blog

As part of National Dying Matters Awareness Week, St Catherine’s Hospice and employee benefits provider Unum, have launched a free bereavement toolkit designed to help employers manage workplace bereavement.

The interactive tool was launched on Unum’s website – on Monday (9 May) to mark the start of Dying Matters Awareness Week, a national week organised by the Dying Matters Coalition to encourage people to talk openly about death and bereavement. The Big Conversation is this year’s theme, because ‘talking about dying won’t make it happen’ and it’s the perfect chance for St Catherine’s and Unum to publicly share their innovative new project.

The engaging and interactive toolkit is aimed at line managers and covers topics including; What is bereavement?, Working through bereavement, Bereavement in the workplace, Supporting a bereaved colleague and Support if a colleague dies.

Offering information on the effects of grief and bereavement and the impact this may have on employees’ work, the toolkit also provides advice on understanding challenges a bereaved colleague will face and dealing with practicalities. With accessible and clear guidance for each topic, the toolkit is designed to help line managers feel in control when managing death and bereavement in their teams.

Every minute someone in the UK dies, but many of us still do not feel comfortable talking about death, something that St Catherine’s explored during last year’s Dying Matters Awareness Week. The hospice held a workshop for employees across Surrey and Sussex and discovered huge differences in the way local employers manage bereavement and illness.

Identifying a need to equip managers to handle difficult conversations and offer support, St Catherine’s and Unum partnered to combine their expertise and develop a resource to educate managers.

Dr Christopher Schenk, Chief Medical Officer at Unum said: “Our research shows that 30 per cent of workers would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel cared for by their company. As an employee benefits provider, we work with employers to provide help and support to staff when they need it most and we’re committed to making a difference. Our free online toolkit, created in association with St Catherine’s, takes you through what bereavement is all about using video, interactive quizzes and fact sheets to make the subject more approachable. It’s been a privilege to work with St Catherine’s.”

Karen Norman, Lead for Patient and Family Support Services at St Catherine’s said: “For many of us the workplace is where we spend most of our time so when you’re bereaved it’s particularly important that your colleagues and managers feel able to support you. Our bereavement toolkit is there to help make sure people feel confident when talking about death and bereavement and it’s been a really exciting project for us to work on. We hope lots of businesses will make use of it and that more workers will feel supported by their employers at a difficult time as a result.”

To view St Catherine’s and Unum’s toolkit please visit: