The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has today launched a free bereavement resource pack, Support for Grieving in Exceptional Times, as Ireland approaches 4,000 Covid-19 related deaths.
It includes all the resources developed as part of IHF’s Care & Inform hub which was specially created to respond to the needs of those facing dying, death and bereavement during Covid-19 restrictions.
Support for Grieving in Exceptional times includes advice and guidance on acknowledging and coping with grief from a Covid-19 death, what to expect when planning a funeral as well as helping children deal with loss and grief.
“The pandemic restrictions make everything seem strange, with normal routines disrupted. This is especially the case for people bereaved during this time, who find themselves planning a funeral and trying to cope with the loss of an important person in their life," said Orla Keegan, Head of Education and Bereavement Services at IHF.
"Our hope for this pack is to provide information and assurance for people who are bereaved and some insights for those who want to help them.”
The pack also includes three resources for those supporting bereaved children as the response to the pandemic continues; Helping children grieve during COVID-19, Supporting teenagers to grieve during COVID-19 and Finding new ways for children to say goodbye.
These resources have been developed with IHF’s Irish Childhood Bereavement Network (ICBN). Coordinator of the ICBN, Maura Keating, said: “It’s natural to want to protect and shield children when someone dies; however, we need to talk to children to help them feel safer. The best thing to do is give them honest, age-appropriate information about death.
"It’s painful to see a child upset, but children cope better with sad news when they are told the truth. These resources are centred around adapting and developing new ways around supporting children and each other grieve until the crisis passes.”
IHF also runs Ireland’s only national Bereavement Support Line. The freephone service (1800 80 70 77) is available Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm and is open to anyone experiencing grief and loss; a COVID-19 related death or a death from other causes or maybe a previous loss is feeling more difficult during the current restrictions.
Support for Grieving in Exceptional Times is available to download for free from here.