Covid's impact on funerals, the bereaved and funeral workers to be examined

Covid's impact on funerals, the bereaved and funeral workers to be examined

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on funerals is the subject of a new study by the University of Aberdeen.

The researchers will examine the experiences of bereaved family and friends, funeral directors and celebrants, and the new practices that have emerged as a result of the restrictions. This will inform careful consideration of how policy and practice should develop for the future. 

Funeral provision in the UK was significantly disrupted when Covid-19 infection control policies were enforced. The restrictions constrained how and by whom deceased people could be cared for; how funeral directors and celebrants could communicate with bereaved families; and possibilities for gathering for funerals, mourning and memorialising activities. 

Death rites and ceremonies can be important forms of care and respect, both for people who have died and for their families and friends, so the disruption has caused much distress. However, the restrictions have also prompted the development of new funeral practices, some of which have been welcomed. For example, some people have found it easier to take part in activities online. 

This interdisciplinary project will bring together insights from anthropology, archaeology, health services research, philosophy, social policy and theology to analyse the diverse experiences of disruption, distress, adaptation and innovation in funeral provision associated with Covid-19. 

The team will interview bereaved families and funeral service providers of different faiths and those of none. They will also analyse funeral artefacts, including online films, tribute pages, and written accounts. 

This study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, as part of UK Research and Innovation’s rapid response to Covid-19.  

Study leader, Professor Vikki Entwistle Chair in Health Services Research and Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, said: “Many of us have been bereaved, or know someone who has been bereaved, during the pandemic. In some cases the restrictions have added stress and a sense of injustice to the experience of funerals.  

“Funeral directors and celebrants, as well as bereaved families and friends, have experienced the disruption as challenging. Their work can be considered a form of care for people who have died, bereaved families, friends and communities – yet they have not been studied as professional groups to the same extent as those who are more typically considered part of health and social care services.    

“By speaking to bereaved families and to funeral professionals, and by analysing how funerals have been conducted during the pandemic period, we hope to gather information on what matters most in funeral provision for different social and faith groups. This will help develop a better understanding of what makes a funeral ‘good’ and of the ethical implications of different policies and practices. This work will be valuable because, in contrast with considerable research into care provided towards the end of life, the practices and ethics of care after death are under-explored. We will use what we learn to help produce recommendations for future funeral care.” 

People interested in taking part in the research can contact the team via the project website: abdn.ac.uk/care-in-funerals or by email at careinfunerals@abdn.ac.uk 

Search News

Browse by Month

2021

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2021
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2021
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2021
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2021

2020

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2020
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2020
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2020
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2020
  12. Dec

2019

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2019
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2019
  12. Dec

2018

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2018
  2. Feb
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2018
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2018
  5. May
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2018
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2018
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2018

2016

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2016
  3. Mar
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2016
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2015

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2015
  12. Dec

2013

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2013
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2013
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2013
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2013
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2013
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2013
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2013
  8. Aug
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2013
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2013
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2013
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2013

2010

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2010
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2010
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2010
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2010
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2010
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2010
  7. Jul
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2010
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2010
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2010
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2010
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2010