Disenfranchised grief and Covid-19: How do we make it less painful?

Indian J Med Ethics. Apr-Jun 2021;VI(2):1-4. doi: 10.20529/IJME.2020.123.

Abstract

The devastating effects of death due to Covid-19 on the bereaved are not adequately addressed. The grief associated with death during the Covid-19 pandemic is disenfranchised and complicated and has significant repercussions on the bereaved. The lockdown, social distancing norms, isolation due to disease or quarantine and infectivity of the disease, place restrictions on the traditional mourning practices. Misconceptions also play a role. Dignity and ethics are frequently breached, perhaps inadvertently. This can lead to serious mental and physical health consequences. We explore the complexities and suggest measures for acknowledging the grief and making it less painful. Pragmatic suggestions to avoid emotional distancing and to uphold the dignity and rights of the deceased and the bereaved are highlighted with examples which can be emulated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bereavement*
  • COVID-19 / psychology*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Disenfranchised Grief*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Personnel / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2