Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Bereaved relatives described the ongoing pain of being absent at the end of a loved-one's life. Many had not seen their relative for weeks or months due to the pandemic. Opportunities must be prioritised for essential connections between families at end-of-life care.

Numerous tealight candles alight

The first paper to give voice to those bereaved during the pandemic is published today in Palliative Medicine. Researchers at the Universities of Oxford, Sheffield and Liverpool explore the impact of restricted visiting to hospitals and care homes due to COVID-19 on relatives’ experience of their loved-one's final days.

The study makes important recommendations for health and social care professionals providing end-of-life care during a pandemic:

  • Prioritise connectedness between patients and relatives using video and telephone calls.
  • Provide relatives with regular telephone updates about personal aspects of care (such as what they had eaten and if they had been able to communicate).
  • Offer advice and guidance about how to prepare children for the death of a loved one.
  • Facilitate opportunities for relatives to ‘say goodbye’ in person before death wherever possible.

The research team says that adopting these recommendations is important as previous research shows when the needs of relatives are addressed at the time a family member is dying, they cope and adjust better in bereavement with improved psychological outcomes and satisfaction with end-of-life care.

Read the full story on the University of Oxford website.

Similar stories

EAVI2020: The Quest for an HIV Vaccine

In this long read published to coincide with International AIDS Day, we explore how an international collaboration – of which the University of Oxford is a key partner – has boosted HIV vaccine research. We thank our partners at Imperial College London for allowing us to reproduce and abridge this article.

New SMRU building opened in Thailand to provide health care to marginalized populations

The inauguration of a new joint Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) and Borderland Health Foundation (BHF) Building took place in Mae Ramat, Thailand, this week.

Smoking increases the risks of 56 diseases in Chinese adults

Smoking increases the risks of 56 diseases and kills more than one million adults in China each year from 22 different causes, according to new research published in The Lancet Public Health.

Success for Oxford researchers in The Genetics Society 2023 Awards

Researchers from Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Radcliffe Department of Medicine and Nuffield Department of Population Health have been recgonised in The Genetics Society 2023 awards.

New Studentship honours Enzo Cerundolo

A new Studentship has been announced in memory of the late MRC HIU Director and MRC WIMM Group Leader.