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Keeping contact with friends and family is critical part of our support system at any time in life, and for those who've faced loss, grief support, especially, cannot be overlooked. And during this uncharted territory of COVID-19, it may be even more important than ever, and thanks to the online offerings provided by Alleo Health's Hospice of Chattanooga, people don't have to lose that lifeline.

"We have a host of support groups year-round that meet regularly, and we've moved those to virtual meetings to help people continue their grief journeys," said Lily Quinn, Strategic Communications Coordinator.

Groups are offered and geared for both adults and children to help meet the unique needs of each demographic.

For those unfamiliar with the various groups offered, a brief list is below:

Brave New World- weekly support group for widows, widowers and partners. 

Wednesdays from 2-3:30 EST

Living with Your Grief- a 6 week group that offers hope and support to those who are grieving

Tuesdays, Oct. 15-Nov. 19 from 11:30-1 EST

Tuesdays, Oct. 27-Dec. 1 from 5:30-7 EST

Healing Hearts Family Nights- a healing place for children ages 5 and up, in concurrence with a separate adult group for parents and caregivers. 

1st and 3rd Thursday from 6-7:15 pm EST

Suicide Support Group - a support group for those who have lost someone to suicide 

Tuesday, Nov 3 from 11:30-1 PM EST

Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 11:30-1 PM EST

Sudden Death by Overdose- a support group for those who have lost a loved suddenly from an overdose

1st Tuesday of each month from 5:30-6:30 PM EST

Hope for the Holidays- a support group for those who are going into the holidays after the loss of a loved one

Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 11:30-1 PM EST

Thursday, Nov. 12 from 5:30-7 PM EST

Teen Tuesdays- a grief retreat for teens age 13 to 18 who have lost a loved one (registration required by 10/28)

Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 11:30-1 PM EST

Tuesday, Nov. 10 from 6:30-8 PM EST

Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 6:30-8 PM EST

The online sessions largely utilize the growing popular platform Zoom, and as they are traditional support group settings, they are not recorded to maintain privacy, per Hospice of Chattanooga's Director of Grief Counseling, Susan Latta.

"Whatever is said there, stays there," she shared. "We really want to keep the connection going among everyone in the midst of this isolation."

Latta went on to say that typical sessions include check-ins among participants, a sharing time and a closing circle. For children's groups, there's also an activity to help engage members in between sharing.

Alleo Health also offers a very valuable online resources page on the Hospice of Chattanooga's website under their blog, along with virtual in-services for facilities and physicians to stay up to date on all their offerings, protocols, and continued education.

During the weekly Facebook lives, those who tune in can expect to learn about important tools to help with naming their grief along with some tactics to have readily available as new developments in the journey arise. All previous Facebook live events can be accessed through the Hospice of Chattanooga blog page.

For all scheduled sessions and groups, there are limited spots, but as demand and need is made known, Latta shared that more can be added to help accommodate everyone.

"Continued group support will be offered if people wish to participate beyond the scheduled groups as well," said Latta. "If anyone needs to be connected to additional community resources, our staff works to make sure that happens."

Those who wish to be added to a support group can contact Susan Latta at 423-805-7112 or susan_latta@hospiceofchattanooga.org.

As always, all groups and resources are open to everyone in the community, regardless of their involvement with any of Alleo Health's services.

"You don't have to have used our hospice care, palliative care, or any services to take part," Quinn noted. 

The sessions and groups are also all free of charge to participants.

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