COVID-19 funeral challenges and guidelines…
When someone has passed away, it is important to maintain respect and dignity for the person who died. The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides a direction on infection regulation. They have a plan for the safe management of a dead body in view of COVID-19. Thus far, there is guidance on safe funerals and options on final goodbyes.
So far, the WHO guidelines provide information on infection control. There are precautions to preparing a body for a funeral too. It includes management of participation of certain numbers of family and friends attending a funeral too. Thus far, the principles are the same. It is to take care of the people preparing the body for burial or cremation who are not infected with the virus. They are undertaking a critical assignment. Hence, they need to be protected. It is equally important to protect those attending the funeral. Moreover, all of these activities must be performed with the greatest of care.
Safe handling of bodies
It is imperative for all personnel who handle the body to apply normal precautions. So far, it includes health care and mortuary staff as well as the burial and cremation team. This includes hand hygiene before and after handling the body. The surroundings must be sanitised too. Hence, the staff is to use PPE in view of the level of interaction with the body. It may include a gown and gloves. Thus far, if there is exposure to splashes from the body fluids or secretions, personnel should use facial protection. These may be medical masks, face shields, or goggles.
Prepare the body for relocation includes removal of all lines, tubes, and catheters. Hence, it is important to contain any body fluids leaking from orifices. So, the key is to minimise the movement and interaction with the body. Hence, the body is to wrap in cloth and transfer as soon as possible to the mortuary. There is no need to disinfect the body before relocating to the mortuary area. Body bags are not necessary; however, they may be helpful.
A common myth prevails in the community that persons who may have died of communicable illness must be cremated. Thus far, it is not true. Hence, cremation is a religious or cultural choice. It may depend on available resources too. So, hasty disposal of the dead bodies must be avoided. Thus far, authorities may manage each situation depending on the case. Hence, the decisions must balance the rights of the family too. The key element being cause of the death and the possibility of exposure to infection.
Dignity and culture
We must respect and protect the dignity of the deceased person throughout. It applies to their cultural beliefs, religious traditions, and families too. So, religious leaders and faith-based groups may provide major guidance and support. In fact, they can play a key role to reduce the infections to COVID-19, thus save lives. So far, they are the primary source to provide comfort, support, and direction. Thus far, religious leaders of the faith-based groups and societies of faith may share health guidance to protect their members. They may provide assistance to the wider communities too. People are likely to accept guidance from faith leaders better than from other sources. Thus far, they may provide sacred and pastoral during public health necessity. So, they can promote for the other health challenges and for the urgencies of the sensitive populations.
Furthermore, faith leaders may provide assistance and support to the grieving families with the funeral. They may help to assure the deceased loved one receives a respectful funeral ceremony. It is important to follow proper funeral rites even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus far, it is important to safely plan and perform funeral rites and services. It must protect and comfort the mourners. At the same time show respect for the deceased. Otherwise, it may cause an infectious risk to the mourners.
Faith societies and religious leaders are influential in creating a network between people and relationships. They are often successful amongst all age groups and professions. Thus far, they strengthen the communities. So, it combats self-isolation. It may be by checking up on the grieving family by phone. Hence, it is especially important for people who are elderly or live alone and those who have disabilities. So far, visits in person need to be avoided or minimised. If absolutely necessary to visit then they must practice social distancing.
So, it is important to encourage family-based care. Thus, prevent family separation. It is critical where children may be in separation from other families. Maintain relationships during such distressing times. It may help protect mental instability and divine health. Thus far, it contributes to flexibility in the community. So, reciting prayers and meaningful reading often builds confidence. It helps create a sense of calmness.
Mental health during a pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic has taken hold across the world, it is causing substantial levels of worry, fear, and concerns in the population at large. It is causing great concerns in certain groups like health care providers, elder adults, and people with health conditions. So far, the key psychological effect is elevated rates of anxiety and stress. However, new measures especially quarantine requirements have an impact on many people. It is causing negative effects on people’s routines, activities, and livelihoods. Thus far, it may cause depression, loneliness, harmful alcohol consumption. Often drug use is evident too. Moreover, self-harm and suicidal behaviour are on the rise too.