Survey finds COVID-19 is changing the way we think about death

galway daily news covid-19 hospice society

The majority of people in Ireland believe that the coronavirus pandemic has made us rethink how we deal with dying, death and bereavement, an Irish Hospice Foundation survey has found.

The survey, conducted by B&A, found that 68% agree that the COVID-19 crisis has made Irish society reevaluate the way it deals with death and bereavement.

It also showed that 10% of people think we talk too much about death, while 34% think we don’t talk about it enough.

People under the age of 34 are more likely to struggle with what to say to someone who has lost a loved one – 77% of those under 34 said they find it difficult to know what to say, while over half all respondents reported experiencing the same problem.

Chief Executive of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Sharon Foley said: “We know from our work over 30 years that Irish people want a society where death and bereavement is openly talked about and not hidden away, where people can die with dignity and that supports and services are in place for end of life and for loved ones who are bereaved.

“This opinion poll shows us that more than two-thirds believe the COVID-19 pandemic is making us rethink how we deal with dying and bereavement.

“This supports our belief from decades of experience and our learning from the COVID-19 pandemic that death, dying and bereavement is truly everyone’s business and requires a comprehensive national response.”

The research also showed a significant impact from COVID-19 with measures introduced restricting the numbers at funerals. 89% of people said that being with extended family and friends is key to grieving.

Sharon Foley added: “We know that grieving in isolation has resulted in doubtless suffering for many individuals and families.

“That is why we have written to the National Public Health Emergency Team calling on them to increase the number of people allowed to attend funerals while maintaining social distancing and other public health measures.”

The Irish Hospice Foundation says the results also highlight the need for further resources and supports for people to deal with death and bereavement.

It says that they have gone some way towards addressing this with the development of a Care & Inform online hub during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The document has been sent to all political parties and outlines the key steps they can take to ensure that policies and supports for death and bereavement are considered in government formation talks.


To help support the local hospitality industry, Galway Daily has launched a new restaurants page to help people see what takeaways are open near them.

Restaurants, cafés and more in the food industry are struggling in the current crisis, and we can all help the places that create delicious experiences for all in Galway by eating local.