What we provide

Program Description

The AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario (ABRPO) is mandated to work with Board, Staff and Volunteers of AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) and other AIDS-serving organizations in Ontario on issues of AIDS-related loss, multiple loss and organizational change and transition. We work with staff, board or volunteer teams and individuals to help them work through all kinds of loss and transitions and to build resiliency skills. Throughout the year, members of the ABRPO Faciltation Team:

  • Facilitate small and large group workshops for workers, agencies and PHA community members;
  • Develop and deliver training sessions;
  • Present workshops and community-based research at conferences, including International AIDS Conferences, plus national and provincial events;
  • Provided numerous consultations and debriefing to Executive Directors, Managers and frontline staff.
  • Collaborate with other organizations on short and long-term projects.

Core Services

The AIDS Bereavement and Resiliency Program of Ontario recognizes that each small pressure from HIV/AIDS produces big effects. Our programs help to honour loss, then strengthen everyone’s capacity to see through things and carry on. ABRPO’s programs address:

  • When loss occurs at work, eg. a client dies or suffers loss or trauma, a co-worker or volunteer gets ill, leaves or dies.
  • When grief comes to your workplace, e.g. a co-worker develops cancer or gets divorced, a family member dies or is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • When the workplace dies, e.g. with restructuring, downsizing, program termination or change, expansion or merger.

ABRPO workshops and training sessions

ABRPO’s sessions upgrade professional skills and facilitate learning. We have published a practical, detailed guide to grief and loss, “The Basics of Grief and Multiple Loss: a Training Manual for Workers in AIDS Service Organizations.”

Choose the most suitable ABRPO program from the following examples or ask the Project to design a unique program that exactly fits your organizations needs.

ABRPO programs include:

  1. Education: how to recognize and intervene when experiencing the effects of Grief, Loss and Trauma; education is an essential component of all of our programs.
  2. Training: project staff partner with workers to co-create a training to maximally respond to their stated needs.
  3. Grief/Loss/Multiple Loss Processing: recognizing the manifestations of a loss response in the worker, sensitization to loss responses of community members and enhancing coping strategies for workers.
  4. Development of Peer Support Systems: through team building, facilitating the ongoing peer support modeled in the trainings/workshops.
  5. Development of Resource Materials: working collaboratively with agencies to develop relevant materials for local activities.
  6. Session Outlines
    • 1 to 3-hour Presentations to Boards of Directors and/or designated staff and resource persons to increase awareness about the impact of change and loss on agency personnel and community members. Presentation topic include grief theory, impact of loss, multiple loss, use of ritual, organizational transition, change theory, building sustainable capacity, enhancing individual coping strategies and organizational responsiveness.
    • 1-day Basic Training About Grief and Loss for Support Workers, Volunteer Coordinators and other frontline staff.
    • Half-day Workshop for Supervisors on “Caring for the Caregivers.” Goals: To build resilience, clarify best practices and pass knowledge from experienced to new. Sample topics: how to support front-line staff; coaching to engage volunteers from the community; setting boundaries; demystifying common grief responses.
    • 1 or 2-day ‘Survive and Thrive’ Workshop for long-term HIV/AIDS survivors who have experienced multiple losses.
    • 1 or 2-day Workshop for Staff,Volunteers or Board Members to strengthen professional skills and build “Community Resiliency”. Follow-up referrals and support are available.
    • Extended Program of Consultation for front-line workers on topics they identify and for a duration they designate, e.g. to fine tune an agency bereavement program or help set up a procedure to debrief after a sudden death.

      Frontline HIV/AIDS caregivers meet enormous personal and professional challenges. As a result, turnover is high and many who continue are challenged to function well due to "compassion fatigue". Challenges include:

      • Ongoing deaths and inescapable shadow of death
      • Stigmatized work
      • Complex and acute disease manifestation
      • Work with diverse populations.

Frontline HIV Worker Supports

ABRPO supports frontline workers through sessions which provide:

  • Recognition of their responses as “normal responses to an abnormal situation”
  • Team solidarity
  • Opportunity to develop the necessary coping skills
  • Enhanced peer support capabilities
  • Understanding of the impact of the work on themselves and others
  • Self-confidence and pride in their work
  • Renewed inspiration
  • Ongoing, sustainable recommitment

ABRPO helps strengthen organizational capacity by:

  • providing practical skills-building workshops,
  • providing thorough training programs,
  • helping HIV/AIDS workers constantly adapt to unavoidably complex issues,
  • revealing and building resiliency skills.

Skills Training for Support Workers

ABRPO can provide specific training for Support Workers in Ontario. Our training models are based on the principles of holistic health and served to support Support Workers in their own grief, as well as train them to work with service users experiencing loss and multiple loss. Our original pilot of this work was evaluated post-intervention and again, 6 months later. Results included improved counselling skills and ability to work with grief and loss.

Training for Volunteer Co-ordinators

We have also worked specifically with Volunteer Co-ordinators on how to address the grief and loss as part of their on-going relationships with the diverse community members who support ASOs. This work is based on the necessity of understanding the impact of grief and multiple loss on volunteers. The desired outcome of this work is to help volunteers maintain their health, efficiency and strength of commitment, which are an invaluable component of AIDS services. We have perceived a significant ripple effect from this training, as a Volunteer Coordinator’s skills and resources are informing many volunteers who are active in the HIV peer community.

Training topics covered include:

  • Establishing Safety
  • Creating guidelines for risk-taking
  • Comprehensive Attachment Grief/Loss theory
  • Inviting exploration: Loss History
  • Creating an environment for Reflection/Integration
  • Group building exercises
  • How to use various teaching tools
  • Understanding Multiple Loss, the Shattering of Assumptions and the Need to make Meaning
  • Holistic Health, Change Theory and Building Capacity (Internal Reliance)
  • Closure Theory

Organizational Transition

Part of the complexity of working in HIV/AIDS is that transition, or the experience of feeling in a state of “chaos” can begin to feel like the “norm”. Understanding the inter-relationship between AIDS-related Loss and Transition theory can help normalize the challenges of working in HIV/AIDS, resulting in enhanced team functioning. When members recognize, respect and have the skills to respond to each other's individual response patterns and peer support needs, the overall health of the organizational team culture is strengthened. See When Grief Comes to Work and our other training manuals.