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Bereavement support

COVID-19 has meant people can not always say goodbye to loved ones. In this article we provide advice how you can support those who are grieving.
White hyacinth flower
© Public Health England

Normal rituals that help people grieve and say goodbye to loved ones who have died may have changed substantially because of the risk of spreading infection.

Other ways you can help people to find safe ways to grieve, honour and remember their lost loved ones are as follows:

  • Help them to discuss what alternative commemorations are possible when attendances at funerals or spending last hours with the person have not been possible.
  • Explore the idea of deferred memorial services when it is safer for people to gather together, in line with guidance to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Provide people ways to be in touch with sick or dying loved ones to say goodbye, using remote technology where appropriate.
  • Identify religious leaders that can provide phone and online support to those who are grieving if appropriate.
  • Support people identifying other ways to safely say goodbye using their own adapted cultural practices.
  • Recognise that for some communities, some of the rituals will not be possible during Covid restrictions, which can lead to issues of shame, low mood and feelings of having ‘let the person down’.

For resources to help communicate with children about death, click here.

© Public Health England
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