"Many messages went out that afternoon from leadership keeping people informed, but supportive messaging went out as well," says Menco. "Our executives discussed taking care of our patients, families, and each other. They also discussed compassion and resilience, which I think is wonderful for staff to see leadership making those types of statements. They also encouraged staff to utilize the EAP."
Deploy employee support services immediately
As soon as the information about the bombings reached Partners executives, those leaders were on the phone with the EAP. According to Andrea Piraino Stidsen, LICSW, CEAP, the founding director of the MGH Employee Assistance Program, determining where to deploy EAP resources was a priority.
The EAP at Partners is an internal program. Offices are located on hospital premises, so staff was able to respond immediately. Communication immediately went out to employees with opportunities for group discussion sessions or individual sessions with EAP social workers. They also made outreach phone calls directly to providers to offer support.
"We targeted workgroups that were affected first, like the emergency department, and offered our services to managers who set up a session or recommend that individual staff attend," said Menco.
"Most people after a traumatic event, in time, on their own they begin to do better. But maybe their symptoms are staying the same or getting worse, and it's then that their body is telling them to seek help."