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Compassus Partners with Tech Company Empathy on Bereavement Support

In response to the rising demand in bereavement care from COVID-19, Compassus is partnering with health app Empathy to help patients’ families navigate the logistical intricacies of a loved one’s passing. CEO Jim Deal recently spoke with Hospice News about how the partnership will serve as an additional layer to Compassus’ existing program with services like funeral arrangements, estate administration and insurance claims.

This article was originally published by Hospice News.

Hospice provider Compassus is partnering with the technology platform company Empathy to help the families of deceased patients navigate the logistical intricacies of a loved one’s passing.

Compassus is piloting the program for three months in the northeastern United States and soliciting feedback from families before rolling it out across their national footprint, more than 200 locations in 30 states. The service includes assistance with funeral arrangements, account cancellations, insurance claims, estate administration and determining what to do with the patients’ property.

Compassus intends to use the solution to augment their existing bereavement care services.

“It’s one of the big differences between hospice care and almost any other health care service; we take care of the family unit,” Compassus CEO Jim Deal told Hospice News. “There is always the grief and loss that people experience, but also the hard realities that many families aren’t prepared for. We hope that this Empathy program is an opportunity to be additive to the things we already do.”

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires hospice providers to offer bereavement counseling for a minimum of 13 months following a patient’s death, but hospices often go above and beyond by making grief care available to their entire communities, regardless of whether the deceased was their patient.

COVID-19 spurring an extensive need for bereavement care, many hospices need additional resources to meet rising demand. Hospices have responded to the need to innovate to maintain the continuity of care while also reducing the risk of spreading the virus, turning to telehealth to provide interdisciplinary services, including bereavement care. One-on-one or family discussions with chaplains and social workers, or participation in support groups, are moving online along with activities such as face-to-face recertifications and some routine home care visits.

“COVID has taught us that innovating through technology is a real value, and that patients and families actually are interested in communicating and interacting electronically more than we may have understood before,” Deal said. “We think that’ll continue on beyond the pandemic.”

Families can spend more than 500 hours in the weeks following a loved one’s death to address administrative, legal and financial concerns, including account cancellations, estate administration, and insurance claims, according to a statement by Empathy.

The company, which operates in the United States and Israel, recently secured $13 million in seed money to grow its newly launched technology platform. Empathy received the funds from venture capital firms General Catalyst and Aleph.

The partnership with Compassus originated when David Kessler, the company’s chief empathy officer, reached out to Deal directly. Kessler is a longtime educator on matters related to bereavement and has authored six books on grief.

We are adding more and more enterprise partners in different sectors, including our exciting partnership with Compassus,” said Empathy Co-Founder and CEO Ron Gura. “While the public may have six different apps they can use to order a pizza, they don’t have one app to help navigate probate or life insurance or create a eulogy. We hope to guide these families to greater peace of mind and provide some clarity on these complex processes.”

This article was originally published by Hospice News.