Bereavement during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK: What do we know so far?
Keywords:Bereavement, grief, pandemics, coronavirus infections, bereavement services
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a devastating mass bereavement event, with measures to control the virus leading to unprecedented changes to end-of-life and mourning practices. In this review we consider the research evidence on the experiences of people bereaved during the pandemic. We summarise key findings reported in the first five publications from our UK-based Bereavement during COVID-19 study, drawing comparisons with available evidence from other studies of bereavement during the pandemic. We summarise these findings across three main topics: experiences at the end of life and in early bereavement; coping and informal support during the pandemic; and access to bereavement and mental health services. The synthesis demonstrates the exceptional challenges of pandemic bereavement, including high levels of disruption to end-of-life care, dying and mourning practices as well as to people’s social networks and usual coping mechanisms. We identified considerable needs for emotional, therapeutic and informal support among bereaved people, compounded by significant difficulties in receiving and accessing such support. We provide evidence-based recommendations for improving people’s experiences of bereavement and access to support at all levels.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Emily Harrop, Lucy Selman
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
This article first appeared in Bereavement online [date] bereavementjournal.org