SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah is forming two new COVID-19 support groups for people still dealing with the physical and emotional side effects of the illness.
Health officials say COVID-19 isn’t just changing how nurses, doctors and other caregivers treat people who are infected. It’s also changing how people grieve over loved ones who died from the virus. Caring Connections Director, Kathie Supiano, states too many people never really had a chance to say goodbye to the people they cared about.
“Many were not able to be in the hospital or to be in the nursing home or assisted living at the time their family member died. That compounds their grief,” she explained.
Two kinds of COVID-19 support groups
So, to help students cope with the grief, the university is implementing two different support groups related to COVID-19.
One group would be for people who have lost someone to the disease. The second is for people who contracted the virus and are still dealing with the symptoms. Even after the virus leaves the system, Supiano says people don’t feel 100% recovered.
“The symptom that we’re seeing the most is a profound level of fatigue. Other people are still struggling with additional physical symptoms. Cardiac symptoms, for example, or breathing difficulties,” she explained.
The group sessions will take place over Zoom, and they’re free to anyone who may need them. Supiano says they don’t want to overcrowd the groups, adding 8 to 12 people in a session seems to be the most effective.
“We wanted it to be a group where everyone could talk. You don’t want it to feel like a classroom,” elaborated Supiano.
If one group gets too crowded, Supiano says they’ll create another section to meet demand.
“This is unprecedented. We’re in uncharted territory and we just have to see how things go,” according to Supiano.
Anyone who wants to enroll in either of these groups can do so by contacting the Caring Connections office at the University of Utah.
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