Grey and red covid-19 virus

Covid-19 and the End of Life Studies Group

Staff and students in the End of Life Studies Group are continuing to meet by Zoom and other means, and in particular have been writing a series of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) related articles on our blog. We would like to share with you our most recent articles:

What’s in your mailbox? Treatment Escalation Plans in the time of COVID-19

What’s in your mailbox? Treatment Escalation Plans in the time of COVID-19 - by Dr. Caroline Cupit

This blog is about my recent personal experience of a COVID19-related end-of-life initiative that targeted an elderly relative. Such initiatives, involving the documentation of preferences in case of ‘serious illness’, are being increasingly targeted at older people—and especially with the advent of COVID-19. Although the intention is to ensure better care at the end-of-life, I hope my personal experience can shine a light on important questions relating to why they are needed, and how they are being implemented in practice. Many of us will be affected.

Understanding bereavement support in response to Covid-19

Understanding bereavement support in response to Covid-19 by Dr Chao Fang

A yellow heart has been widely shared across the UK during lockdown, giving many bereaved families a meaningful opportunity to visibly share their loss and grief. Originating from a single bereaved family, this simple and powerful movement has showcased one of many new forms of grieving developed during the time of Covid-19. In the face of lockdown, social distancing and other new norms, the experience of grieving and bereavement is no longer the same as before. It requires revised, compromised and even completely new ways to grieve and to deal with bereavement.

Dying and death in “unprecedented” times: The role of learning

Dying and death in “unprecedented” times: The role of learning by Dr Marian Krawczyk

The world stopped making sense when my sister died. She wasn’t supposed to die young, with a small child, most of her life still to be lived – it was an unprecedented event.  In order to try and find meaning to my inchoate grief, I began to explore others’ stories and experiences with dying and death. Through studying my own culture and others I came to understand that of course my sister’s death wasn’t unprecedented; lots of people die young, with many never making it to adulthood. At the same time, in widening my perspective beyond the personal, I was able to connect and give meaning to my own experiences. I used other peoples’ experiences to make sense of my own. Eventually I became an anthropologist, dedicating my career to exploring the many ways we collectively try to make sense of, and organize, dying and death.

In the time of COVID – ‘April is the cruellest month'

In the time of COVID – ‘April is the cruellest month’ by Professor David Clark

TS Eliot’s chilling start to The Waste Land has deep resonance in the time of COVID-19. We seem to be exactly in that instant when ‘the dead tree gives no shelter’, when ‘I was neither living nor dead’, and when ‘He who was living is now dead’[i]. The mere 30 days of April have felt like a lifetime, stretched out in a moment-by-moment barrage of suffering, loss and death, overlaid in turn with interpretations, facts, opinions, theories, and commentaries of every stripe.

So where to begin writing about this ‘cruellest month’?


The role of online Death Cafes during Covid-19 crisis

The role of online Death Cafes during Covid-19 crisis by Solveiga Zibaite

Until Death Café meetings moved from cafes, libraries, community centres, cemeteries, etc. to the online sphere due to social distancing measures, it had not occurred to me to specify that my PhD thesis is about face to face Death Café meetings. Online Death Cafés were an exception, not the rule when I conducted my fieldwork in 2018-2019. I attended 20 Death Café events in the United Kingdom and the embodied co-presence of attendees always seemed to be such an intrinsic part of Death Café conversations and their intimate atmosphere, that removing it from the equation seemed almost impossible. I still hold that belief. But Death Cafés seem to be thriving from a growing interest in the face of the pandemic and they have had to move online.

Don’t watch with me

Don’t watch with me by Stephen Greenhalgh

Reflections of a Hospice CEO on the emerging COVID-19 crisis:

Toiling up the knoll on brittle ground frost we clambered over a creaking stile to be rewarded by the sun glistening on Windermere set against a backdrop of distant snowclad fells.  Our short walk had brought a welcome opportunity to reflect during our annual board planning event near Newby Bridge.  Little did we know that in just a few days we would be grappling with a decision that had never been made in the history of St Catherine’s Hospice and would go directly against one of our most treasured principles, “watch with me”.

In these strange times…

In these strange times… by Joe Wood

Coronavirus is changing the way we live in a way that is repeatedly said to be unprecedented. We say we are living through strange times, extraordinary times, difficult times. For some of us lucky enough to be able to work from home time might be stretching out in lockdown into an endless series of Thursday afternoons. For others, the increased workload at the moment might feel like time is rushing ahead of us. For those who have lost jobs or loved ones, time might seem to have stopped altogether.

Palliative care and COVID-19

Palliative care and COVID-19 by Professor David Clark

Professor David Clark, Dr Marian Krawzyck, Dr Naomi Richards, Dr Sandy Whitelaw, Anthony Bell – all members of the Glasgow End of Life Studies Group – share some recent insights.

‘Palliative care will assume a central and vital role in the care for patients in an influenza pandemic’ (Rosoff 2006)