Providing Solutions to Address Grief, Bereavement, and Isolation in Long-Term Care Settings 

Learn how our online learning action network (LAN) helps residents and staff in Michigan nursing homes build resiliency while better responding to loneliness and grief.

Card image cap


Nursing home residents and staff have been severely impacted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Restrictions on social interactions and loss of family and friends have reduced resident quality of life and affected the well-being of residents and staff. Supporting resiliency in those experiencing bereavement and grief and reducing the loneliness of social isolation are key challenges facing nursing homes today.

With support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, Altarum is working with residents and staff in long-term care settings across the state to address these impacts. Participants in the WellbeingTREE LAN  benefit from relationship-based activities, building a network of peers, and sharing best practices in addressing grief, bereavement, and isolation.  

Our Approach

Altarum is well-respected in Michigan’s long-term care community through our work leading quality improvement, technical assistance, and evaluation initiatives. Skilled at producing engaging content for action-oriented LANs, we bring together field experts such as Toni Miles, MD, PhD, a grief expert in long-term care, The Eden Alternative®, and Maureen Mickus, MD, a gerontological expert on social isolation. The learning network provides education on key topics while working to involve participants in applying ideas and practices. Peer-to-peer learning and sharing best practices are a hallmark of the program. Health care professionals can earn continuing education and in-service learning credits for their participation.   


Halfway through the program, Altarum has exceeded its participant recruitment goal engaging both residents and nursing home staff, including nursing home administrators and leadership. Learning participants have committed to adding or improving processes surrounding grief and bereavement such as memorial services, placement of resident wishes within their chart, and improved collaboration on care plans between hospice and nursing home staff. More importantly, participants have learned the value of talking about grief, bereavement, and other key topics that impact the daily lives of both residents or staff and strategies to better support their needs.

Interested in participating in an upcoming session? If you are a Michigan-based nursing home resident or interested party, contact us to be added to our listserv.

Interested in learning how Altarum can work with your state or foundation to develop an engaging, action-oriented LAN? Reach out to our experts below or email

Providing Solutions to Address Grief, Bereavement, and Isolation in Long-Term Care Settings  Contact

Contact Us

Nicole Brueggeman

Nicole Brueggeman  - MSW, LCSW, MA

Project Manager, Delivery System Transformation

Areas of Expertise
  • Training and Technical Assistance
  • Person-Centered Culture Change 
  • Project Management 

Nicole is a project manager with more than 20 years of professional experience managing large-scale and innovative projects working to improve the quality of life of others. A 2021 graduate of Leadership Missouri, a program of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Nicole fosters leadership and promotes its fundamental role in shaping outcomes and results. She holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University’s St. Louis Brown School of Social Work, where she specialized in mental health. She also holds a Master of Mass Communications, with a specialization in organizational development and training from Lindenwood University. Nicole manages multiple nursing home culture change projects funded through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Civil Monetary Penalty funds. She also leads our work in engaging Michigan-based nursing home staff and residents in critical conversations about grief, bereavement, and social isolation through the Wellbeing Tree contract. 

Anne Hicks-Dorantes

Anne Hicks-Dorantes

Long-Term Services and Supports Specialist

Areas of Expertise
  • CMS Regulatory Compliance
  • Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement
  • Long-Term Services and Supports

Anne is an experienced licensed nursing home administrator and health service executive with 30 years of unwavering dedication to the consumers and providers of skilled nursing, long-term care, assisted living and community-based home care and hospice care. Anne is a recipient of the ACHCA Eli Pick Award for Leadership in Skilled Nursing Facilities and continues to support innovation and leadership within the field as a long-term services and supports specialist. Anne’s passion lies in developing innovative programs and quality improvement action plans that effectively transform the consumer experience from system-centered healthcare into person-centered healthcare. Currently, Anne works with select homes in Kentucky and Tennessee on culture change initiatives; partnering directly with the care providers and focusing on quality efforts centered around resident choice and autonomy. The work also continues in Michigan through our Learning Action Network.