It's never easy losing a loved one, but during the Coronavirus pandemic, it's us hit twice as hard. As we mourn and grieve the loss of those we love so dearly, who would ever have thought we'd see the day when we can't attend their funeral? That we can't be physically present to say our goodbyes, to celebrate the life they lived for fear of spreading COVID-19, feels as unnatural to us as the virus itself. And as we adjust to our new, temporary normality of day-to-day life, so too, must we adjust to a different kind of bereavement. To that end, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has announced the launch of a new Care and Inform online hub to provide accurate information around funerals and grieving during the COVID-19 crisis
Due to the social-distancing measures implemented as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, groups of people cannot currently gather in one location in large groups for funerals, and those who are grieving cannot, therefore, receive the company of people who wish to extend their condolences.
“This is a very overwhelming and upsetting time for us all, but for those facing death and grieving it is particularly difficult. The COVID-19 restrictions on physical distancing and cocooning mean our traditional ways of grieving and showing our respects are no longer possible," explained CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation Sharon Foley. "We hope this new information hub will provide clear information for people so they can support themselves and others as we try and find new ways to navigate grief and loss in this extremely uncertain time."
What resources will be available?
The new online resource, which is now available at hospicefoundation.ie, will provide relevant and up-to-date information on end-of-life and bereavement care.
The hub, which will be continually updated going forward, is supported by the HSE and is in line with the latest HSE and Government guidance.
The IHF Care & Inform hub resource includes information on:
Planning Funerals in Exceptional Times
- Advice for the immediate family on arranging funerals (both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19).
- Ideas for wider friends and family who would in normal circumstances have supported them by attending funerals or wakes on how they can support them and show that they care.
Grieving in Exceptional Times
- Acknowledging and coping with the grief of a COVID-19 death.
- Supporting individuals who are grieving during this period of physical isolation. In the case of COVID-19 deaths this will address some of the particular aspects including not being able to be with a loved one while they were dying, and the impact of measures taken to avoid infection.
- Resources on how friends and family can help people who are grieving – this also includes specific resources for supporting children and young people.
- This health crisis has increased the number of conversations in Irish society about death, dying and bereavement.
- The IHF Care and Inform hub provides the information needed for realistic and informed conversations and provides people with resources to think ahead should they wish to do so.
- The IHF is also developing a bereavement telephone helpline, which will be launched by Tuesday, April 21st.
For more information on the hub, visit hospicefoundation.ie