Service Spotlight: Office of Decedent Affairs
The Office of Decedent Affairs (ODA) is a program within the Michigan Medicine Department of Social Work that promotes best practices and helps Michigan Medicine excel at providing end-of-life care to patients and families.
In addition, ODA offers support to employees who experience grief and loss in their professional lives through education, training and events — many of which are held during May as part of Grief Awareness Month for Faculty and Staff.
“Experiencing loss is a reality for anyone who works in a health care setting and we understand that faculty and staff need time to recognize and celebrate the important work they do in anticipation of and during end of life,” said Aimee Vantine, LMSW, program manager for the bereavement program at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. “That’s why each May we pause and reflect on this important work.”
Grief Awareness events provide staff a time to remember their experiences, honor the loss of their patients, learn skills and develop tools to provide kind and compassionate care to patients and families in those difficult moments.
However, while the office’s work is especially visible during the month of May, ODA is available to assist all year round.
Every day, the team helps patients, families and employees understand what to do under the most difficult of circumstances. For instance, families will be navigated through tough decisions regarding an autopsy or examinations following the loss of a child. ODA also provides bereavement guides and resources both within Michigan Medicine and in the community. At other times, team members will simply offer the necessary support to help individuals cope in a time a grief.
“End of life care can be a complex and confusing time for anyone,” said Lisbeth Harcourt, LMSW, manager of ODA. “When we step in, we can help to alleviate the fear, stress or anxiety of family members when they need it the most. It’s a powerful responsibility and makes our work incredibly fulfilling.”
For support of Michigan Medicine adult patients, or if you or a patient has general questions on the services offered by Decedent Affairs, contact Harcourt at 734-232-4919.
Those seeking support at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, contact Vantine at 734-615-3122.