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People bereaved during the Covid-19 crisis face significant challenges that shape their experiences of grief. The sudden nature of many Covid-19 deaths, and infection control measures that limit family contact with patients, adds to the distress of the bereaved. Whether the cause of death is Covid-19 or another illness/event, social distancing measures mean that family members may grieve alone and mourning practices are disrupted. People from black and minority ethnic groups (BAME) are particularly affected by Covid-19 and can experience additional barriers to accessing bereavement services.

Covid-19 has also brought significant challenges for bereavement services. Social distancing requirements make usual in-person individual and group bereavement support impossible, whilst responding to abnormal bereavement requires additional competencies among staff.

This study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, will identify ‘real-time’ implications for the delivery of end-of-life care and bereavement support during and beyond the pandemic. It will enable us to recommend how to achieve equitable and effective bereavement support, pandemic-specific competencies needed by bereavement support workers and specific types of support that should be prioritised at regional and national levels, whilst working throughout to ensure prompt translation into practice.

The first round of the online survey has been completed. A follow-up questionnaire will be administered soon.

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