Supporting adults bereaved through COVID-19 : a rapid review of the impact of previous pandemics on grief and bereavement

Mayland, Catriona R. and Harding, Andrew and Preston, Nancy and Payne, Sheila (2020) Supporting adults bereaved through COVID-19 : a rapid review of the impact of previous pandemics on grief and bereavement. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 60 (2). e33-e39. ISSN 0885-3924

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The global COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have a major impact on the experience of death, dying, and bereavement. This study aimed to review and synthesize learning from previous literature focused on the impact on grief and bereavement during other infectious disease outbreaks. We conducted a rapid scoping review according to the principles of the Joanna Briggs Institute and analyzed qualitative data using thematic synthesis. From the 218 identified articles, 6 were included in the analysis. They were four qualitative studies, one observational study, and a systematic review. Studies were conducted in West Africa, Haiti, and Singapore. No research studies have focused on outcomes and support for bereaved people during a pandemic. Studies have tended to focus on survivors who are those who had the illness and recovered, recognizing that some of these individuals will also be bereaved people. Previous pandemics appear to cause multiple losses both directly related to death itself and also in terms of disruption to social norms, rituals, and mourning practices. This affects the ability for an individual to connect with the deceased both before and after the death, potentially increasing the risk of complicated grief. In view of the limited research, specific learning from the current COVID-19 crisis and the impact on the bereaved would be pertinent. Current focus should include innovative ways to promote connection and adapt rituals while maintaining respect. Strong leadership and coordination between different bereavement organisations is essential to providing successful postbereavement support.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Pain and Symptom Management
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 60, 2, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2020.05.012
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? clinical neurologyanesthesiology and pain medicinegeneral nursingnursing(all) ??
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Deposited On:
14 May 2020 12:05
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 11:26