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Bereavement ; 2, 2023.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-2322658


Nearly all British children are bereaved of someone close to them by the time they turn 16 and, with the Covid-19 pandemic and world humanitarian crises across the news and social media, they are being exposed to more anxiety about death than ever before. Learners need to be taught about grief and death to prepare them to manage bereavement and support others. As it stands, although teaching resources exist and some curriculum guidance documents mention loss or death, there is no statutory requirement for schools anywhere in the UK to cover grief or bereavement and many pupils have no classes about these difficult topics. This article consolidates the case for grief education in schools. We discuss six key questions to examine evidence that children benefit from talking about grief, death and loss;the current provision for grief education in UK schools;the obstacles to teaching these topics and ways to overcome them;and the potential further implications of a policy change. Following the lead of child bereavement charities, research and new national reports on UK bereavement support, we demonstrate the need for mandatory grief education in all four countries of the UK and offer evidence-based recommendations for its implementation. © 2023, Cruse Bereavement Care. All rights reserved.

Bereavement-Journal of Grief and Responses to Death ; 1, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2040857


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.

BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care ; 12:A1, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2005467


Background The COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental impact on millions of people's experiences of bereavement. Traumatic end-of-life experiences and disruptions to support networks increase chances of poor bereavement outcomes. Aim To examine grief and support needs, and identify associated risk factors. Methods Mixed-methods survey of people bereaved in the UK from March 2020-January 2021, disseminated via media, social media, national associations, community/charitable organisations. Practical and emotional support needs were assessed in 13 domains, and grief intensity using the Adult Attitude to Grief (AAG) scale, which calculates an overall index of vulnerability (IOV) (range 0-36). Results 711 participants, mean age 49.5 (SD 12.9);88.6% female;95.3% white. Mean age of deceased 72.2 (SD 16.1);58% died in hospital;44% from COVID-19. Mean IOV was 20.41 (95% CI = 20.06 to 20.77), i.e. high vulnerability in grief overall. 28.2% exhibited extreme levels of vulnerability (i.e., IOV ≥ 24). In six support domains, all relating to psycho- emotional support, 50% to 60% of respondents reported high/fairly high levels of need. Increased levels of perceived support from health professionals led to significantly (P < 0.001) lower levels of grief and support need (small/medium effect, P < 0.001). Bereaved participants who were socially isolated/lonely experienced higher levels of grief and support needs than those who were not (P < 0.001). Grief and support needs were much higher for close family members compared with other groups (P < 0.05). Levels of grief and support needs were slightly higher for COVID deaths compared with non-COVID (P < 0.01), although this was not significant in a mixed model. Conclusions People bereaved during the pandemic experience high levels of grief and emotional support needs, with social isolation/loneliness and death of a close family member particular risk factors. Healthcare professionals' support is associated with better bereavement experiences.