The impact of Covid-19 on bereavement care in Ireland: A national survey of bereavement care providers.
Keywords:COVID, Bereavement, Grief, Care
Objectives: To a) describe bereavement care providers' experience of demand and type of need for bereavement care during the first year of the pandemic; b) describe the self-assessed impact on care providers; c) identify service adaptations and challenges currently faced.
Methods: Data was collected via an online survey of Irish bereavement service workers (n=199) during the 2021 level 5 restrictions enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results: 47% of respondents noted an increase in the demand for their service, with many reporting higher levels of distress and more complex needs among service users. 47% reported an increase in the emotional impact of the work. Many service providers altered their service provision and/or developed new services, in part, to meet the changing pattern of need. The positive changes and opportunities resulting from the pandemic were also noted, some of which they intended to continue post-pandemic.
Conclusion: The pandemic and related restrictions shone a light on the way we die and grieve in Ireland. With the current focus on bereavement, now may be the time to develop a national policy for bereavement care, which should provide direction for service provision and pathways, alongside public education to meet bereavement needs.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Amanda Roberts, Orla Keegan, Ingrid Holme, Maura Keeting
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This article first appeared in Bereavement online [date] bereavementjournal.org