Information and support for relatives

It can be difficult to meet relatives during the end-of-life stage because of the coronavirus. Even funerals might not be able to proceed as planned at present. We have therefore compiled information and recommendations from actors in society.
Ljus på bord.

 Visiting relatives during the end-of-life stage

Until further notice, there is a ban on visiting all care homes for the elderly in Sweden. But exceptions may be permitted from this ban in special circumstances. Contact your municipality or the person responsible for operations at the home in question to find out what the situation is there.

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare has drawn up general advice (in Swedish) on when exceptions from the visiting ban may be permitted. These include, for example: 

  • need for a visit in connection with end-of-life care.
  • need for a visit by a visitor who has an incurable, non-infectious illness and is in the end-of-life stage.
  • if a resident is suffering major anxiety and it is considered that a visit is the only way to alleviate the situation.

Modern technology also makes it possible to see each other via a video link. Investigate whether the home can assist with this. You can find out more about the national ban on visits to care homes for the elderly on the government’s website (in Swedish).

A final farewell

Regardless of the cause of death, according to the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s recommendations there is nothing to prevent relatives from bidding a final farewell to the deceased. Relatives who wish to bid a final farewell in person will be informed of the procedures in place and whether they need to use personal protective equipment. The risk of being infected by Covid-19 from a deceased person is considered small.

Funeral ceremonies

At present there is a ban on public gatherings with more than 50 people. The Public Health Agency of Sweden also recommends that the general public does not attend large social gatherings such as funerals. But there are ways of bidding farewell to your nearest and dearest even in the difficult circumstances prevailing at present.  

The Church of Sweden recommends that relatives hold a small funeral service or ceremony, which they film and transmit live via social media. If cremation has already taken place, it is also possible to postpone the funeral service or ceremony and hold it at a later date. You can read about funerals and remembrance ceremonies in traditions other than the Church of Sweden at the Swedish Agency for Support for Faith Communities (in Swedish). For civil funerals, the Church of Sweden, or in some cases the municipality, assumes responsibility.

Mourning

At 1177 Healthcare Guide you can find tips and advice (in Swedish) on how to deal with your grief when someone has died. You can also contact one of the support lines available (in Swedish) online via chat, email or phone.

No special protective measures for handling household effects

A person who has to deal with the household effects of a deceased person with confirmed Covid-19 does not need to take any protective measures other than normal – use disposable gloves and wash hands with soap and water.

The Survivor’s Guide – practical tips when a relative has died

When a relative has died, you may need to contact a number of different government agencies and other actors. At Efterlevandeguiden.se you can find information and checklists (in Swedish) about what needs to be done immediately after the death, but also in the following months and years.

 

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