Red Cross starts virtual assistance center for families


Rochester, NY (WROC) — For many families a COVID-19 death can come suddenly and without warning, that’s why leaders here at the American Red Cross are starting a virtual family assistance center, to help people get through this challenging time.

People can turn to the American Red Cross for help on navigating a death in the family during COVD-19.

“The deaths are generally fairly surprising, people aren’t expecting that, they can be very quick and there’s a level of isolation from your family members that people are now having to deal with,” said Tara Hughes, a disaster mental health advisor for the north east division of the red cross.

Hughes say a lot of normal process have changed, such as getting death certificate and making funeral arrangements, and families might need more help dealing with these moments.

That’s why they’ve taken their family care approach online with the new virtual family assistance center.

“We’re really helping them figure out what their needs are and then looking to do all we can to navigate those process and then get them to where they need to be,” said Hughes.

30 trained Red Cross disaster mental health, spiritual care and health services volunteers are available to help families with health and legal resources.

“So what they get when they call is a lot of support emotional support, really from someone who understands what they’re going through and can help them understand what they’re going through,” said Hughes.

People can call just to talk or be connected with resources in their community. Whatever the need, Hughes says it’s about making the process easier so families can get through this difficult time.

“We want being to feel supported and we want people to feel like they’re not alone even though they feel very much like they’re alone,” said Hughes.

The virtual Family Assistance Center is free to connect to, and will be available through the Red Cross through the end of the pandemic.

For more information you can visit our website for a link to family assistance center, visit their website here or call the the red cross at 585-241-4400.

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