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Bereavement advice and support during coronavirus

Most people experience grief when they lose someone important to them. It affects everyone differently. There's no right or wrong way to feel.

You may be finding it particularly difficult at the moment because of the changes in place to try to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Changes have been made to several services, including end of life and palliative care, as well as funeral arrangements.

You may feel that you need some extra help and support during this time.

Information:

Bereavement helpline

The charity support service Sudden has a bereavement helpline you can call on 0800 2600 400 if someone you know has died.

It's open from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

They can give you advice, guidance and practical support during this difficult time.

If somebody dies at home

Call 999 if somebody dies at home unexpectedly.

If there's an end of life care plan in place and the death is expected, call the person's GP. Leave a message, or call 111, if you cannot speak to the GP.

The GP or another healthcare professional may be able to certify the death. Sometimes they may need to report the death to a coroner before it can be certified.

Registering a death

You need to call a register office to register the death of a relative or loved one. Find a register office on GOV.UK.

The register office staff will tell you what you need to do when you contact them.

Funeral directors can also register deaths, but not all of them do.

In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland a death must be registered within 5 days. In Scotland, a death must be registered within 8 days.

Read more about how to register a death on GOV.UK.

Seeing someone after they've died

You may not be able to see someone after they've died if it happened in a hospital or care home. You may be able to see them at a distance, but this will depend on the rules of the hospital or care home.

It may be possible to do cultural or funeral rituals, such as washing, dressing, kissing, and holding the person's body, if you are wearing protective clothing and equipment.

Funerals

Changes have been made to funerals to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The government has advice about funerals, including:

  • who can go to the funeral
  • how many people can go
  • social distancing at the funeral

GOV.UK: advice on funerals during the coronavirus pandemic

Bereavement and mental health support:

Page last reviewed: 23 October 2020
Next review due: 30 October 2020