68% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS MADE IRISH SOCIETY RETHINK THE WAY IT DEALS WITH DEATH AND BEREAVEMENT

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68% OF PEOPLE BELIEVE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS MADE IRISH SOCIETY RETHINK THE WAY IT DEALS WITH DEATH AND BEREAVEMENT

NEW IRISH HOSPICE FOUNDATION SURVEY ALSO SHOWS 89% SAY BEING TOGETHER WITH EXTENDED FAMILY AND FRIENDS IS A KEY PART OF GRIEVING PROCESS INDEPTH POLICY DOCUMENT ON DYING, DEATH AND BEREAVEMENT PRESENTED TO POLITICAL PARTIES AS GOVERNMENT FORMATION TALKS CONTINUE

Wednesday 20 May, 2020: The Irish Hospice Foundation is today
publishing a survey of Irish people’s attitudes around death and
bereavement which shows a majority of people believe the current
COVID-19 pandemic has made us rethink how we deal with dying, death
and bereavement The survey, conducted by B&A for the Foundation shows:

68% agree the current pandemic has made Irish Society rethink the way
it deals with death and bereavement;
10% think we talk too much about death, while 34% think we don’t talk
about it enough;
89% say that being together with extended family and friends is a key
part of the grieving process;
55% of people say they struggle to know what to say to someone who is
bereaved or to know how to support them (this rises to 77% among those
under 34 years of age);
29% believe there are not enough supports available in Ireland for
those who have been bereaved – with 27% believing there are enough
such supports.

Chief Executive of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Sharon Foley said:
“We know from our work over 30 years that Irish people want a society
where death and bereavement is openly talked about and not hidden
away, where people can die with dignity and that supports and services
are in place for end of life and for loved ones who are bereaved. This
opinion poll shows us that more than two-thirds believe the COVID-19
pandemic is making us rethink how we deal with dying and bereavement.
This supports our belief from decades of experience and our learning
from the COVID-19 pandemic that death, dying and bereavement is truly
everyone’s business and requires a comprehensive national response.”

The research also showed a significant impact from COVID-19 with
measures introduced restricting the numbers at funerals. 89% of people
said that being with extended family and friends is key to grieving.

Sharon Foley added: “We know that grieving in isolation has resulted
in doubtless suffering for many individuals and families. That is why
we have written to the National Public Health Emergency Team calling
on them to increase the number of people allowed to attend funerals
while maintaining social distancing and other public health measures.”

The Irish Hospice Foundation says the results also highlight the need
for further resources and supports for people to deal with death and
bereavement. We have gone some way towards addressing this with the
development of our Care & Inform online hub during the COVID-19
pandemic.

Bringing together our experience in the sector and our most recent
learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Irish Hospice Foundation has
also today published a new policy document on dying, death and
bereavement. The document has been sent to all political parties and
outlines the key steps that a new Government can take to ensure that
policies and supports for death and bereavement are considered in
formation talks.

The seven policy pillars outlined by the Irish Hospice Foundation are:

Develop a whole of government strategy to end of life care
Renew a national dialogue on dying, death and bereavement
Plan community supports on bereavement

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