COVID-19 brings a new urgency for advance care planning: Implications of death education

Death Stud. 2022;46(1):91-96. doi: 10.1080/07481187.2020.1821262. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


The U.S. has the highest number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and deaths of any nation. Deaths due to COVID-19, especially among older adults and people of color, have created an urgency for advanced care planning (ACP). Despite benefits of ACP, only one-third of U.S. adults have completed advance directives, in part due to a lack of death education. We recommend four actions to increase death education and ACP completion: (1) integrate death education into teacher preparation programs, (2) incorporate death education in undergraduate curricula, (3) provide better education in death and dying to future health professionals, and (4) educate the public.

MeSH terms

  • Advance Care Planning*
  • Advance Directives
  • Aged
  • COVID-19*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2