IN a nation the place speaking about dying and dying can nonetheless really feel like a taboo, Covid-19 and the consequential death-laden headlines have made us withstand the, typically, uncomfortable realities concerning the care and help we might need for ourselves and our family members on the finish of life. And the fact is – these points are essential and must be addressed.
By no means earlier than on this technology have we witnessed the quantity of dying as through the pandemic. It’s recommended that for every individual that dies, 5 individuals – their family members, household and pals – are left coping with grief and bereavement. With 9,997 registered Covid-19 deaths in Scotland to this point (as of April 4), greater than 49,000 are more likely to have been bereaved because of this. That could be a staggering quantity, and the direct influence on households, carers and wider society has been immense, bringing the challenges of grief and bereavement into sharp focus.
With the start of 2021 seeing a spike in an infection charges and consequential deaths, we additionally mustn’t neglect the influence bereavement and trauma has had on frontline well being and social care staff, as they proceed to cope with large ranges of working hours, stress and grief.
But, whereas lockdown measures slowly ease, extra individuals will nonetheless face the dying of a liked one. With society being in poor health ready in coping with dying, dying and bereavement, extra provisions and bereavement help must be accessible to assist Scotland cope and get better, now and into the long run.
All through the pandemic, Scottish hospices have been providing specialist help for individuals dealing with bereavement. The household and bereavement help workforce at St Columba’s Hospice Care has offered phone and video counselling help; Ardgowan Hospice, Greenock, has prolonged its household help service to individuals bereaved by, or affected by, Covid-19 in its group, together with 1:1 emotional help, and help teams for adults, youngsters and younger individuals; and St Margaret of Scotland Hospice has been working digital emotional and bereavement help for many who want it. And there are lots of extra nice examples from the sector.
As Scotland gears up for its elections this Might, we’ve an opportunity to mirror and study from Covid-19 – and to ask how we are able to develop into a nation the place everybody experiencing dying, dying and bereavement receives the care and help they want.
Scotland’s Bereavement Constitution for Kids and Adults, which units out what the very best bereavement care and help ought to appear to be, may be very welcome. However now could be the time for motion.
Because of this Hospice UK is asking on all political events to make palliative and bereavement care a precedence, in order that we are able to help individuals to reside as absolutely and in addition to they will to the top of their lives, nevertheless lengthy which may be. Particularly, we urge the following Scottish Authorities to plan for, put money into and develop the infrastructure for bereavement help, from constructing capability and resilience inside native communities to extra formal bereavement companies, so everybody who’s bereaved can obtain the help they want.
Helen Malo is Hospice UK’s Coverage and Advocacy Supervisor in Scotland