The Corporation des thanatologues du Québec unveiled, on March 8, the first results of a research conducted by Professor Jean-Marc Barreau, of the University of Montreal, on the impacts of the sanitary measures required of the funeral industry in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Every day, since the start of the pandemic, we have been supporting families to overcome this ordeal and we have already seen this type of distress and suffering. Today, a university study proves that the absence or postponement of funeral rituals are factors that deprive families of their right to experience their mourning as peacefully as possible, ”said Annie Saint-Pierre, Executive Director. of the Corporation of thanatologists.
About a hundred bereaved families from all regions of Quebec spoke in the context of this study. Analysis of the data reveals that many families have had the impression that they will have to mourn twice, either at the funeral home and when they can hold the funeral.
When the celebration takes place in the funeral home, research shows that three factors disrupt the grieving process. The first is the limit on the number of participants (25%), the second is social distancing (16%) and the third is the lack or absence of human warmth (10%). Two other elements are raised: the importance of seeing the body of the deceased person to mourn and the need to offer a quality funeral.
In addition, according to interviews conducted by Professor Barreau, the limit of people in face-to-face not only complicates mourning, but it contributes to dividing families who have to choose who can say goodbye to the deceased loved one to the detriment of someone else. ‘other.
As for the virtual funerals that can be offered to families, they are a complement to the face-to-face. The study highlights a paradox: only 33% of the bereaved families questioned say they are open to this type of funeral, while 67% prefer to postpone the funeral even if they are aware that the mourning will be “postponed” in a certain way.
“However, one of the advantages of bimodal virtual funerals is that they offer bereaved people the possibility of associating ” social body ” (face-to-face family) and ” digital body ” (remote family). It is an essential reality for the resolution of a bereavement that can never be resolved alone, ”argued Professor Barreau.
The study also addresses the impact of the pandemic on the work of thanatologists. It highlights a sharp increase in the workload of funeral companies and two factors result: social distancing and distress of families.
“The results of this study confirm our fears and demonstrate the urgency of adapting the health instructions relating to the pandemic in the funeral sector. We are convinced of the professionalism of funeral companies who are able to organize dignified funeral rituals in complete safety. To date, the government limits funeral ceremonies to a single session of a maximum of 25 people, with no possibility of rotation. We ask that these requirements be quickly reviewed to put a stop to a problem that is already emerging, and whose social consequences are to be anticipated, ”Ms. St-Pierre concluded by way of conclusion.
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