Covid-19 Toolkit

In these overwhelming times there is a lot of information being shared about funerals, burials, and death surrounding COVID-19. It can be difficult – if not paralyzing – figuring what information is accurate.

So to help you navigate the abundance of material online, we’ve created this COVID-19 Toolkit. Consider this your one-stop source for reliable and up-to-date facts and guidance on handling death, grief, and end of life planning under COVID-19.

In addition, we will be regularly updating the resources below, so you can trust that (to the best of our knowledge) the information presented here is accurate.

THE ORDER’S COVID-19 RESOURCES

Various articles, videos, and resources created by The Order of the Good Death in response to Covid-19

Burials & Funerals Under Covid-19

A FAQ about funeral care is a living document, updated with answers and information from official, trusted sources on a regular basis. 

Ask a Mortician: Funerals in the Age of Coronavirus

Updates on the funeral industry response to coronavirus, what we know about the dead bodies, and what funerals may look like going forward.

Talking About Death During COVID-19

While the world seems precarious and mortality feels closer than ever, the simple question of “How are you doing?”, can feel loaded. The answer to that question might be, “Where do I begin?”

Funerals & Dying in Absentia: Inspiration  & Tips During Covid-19

How can we honor a life in the absence of funeral? What can we do to show our love when we can’t be there to hold the hand of a dying loved one? How can we cultivate social and emotional connection without the benefit of being physically present?

Ask A Mortician: Handling the Coronavirus Dead in New York

Addressing the wild misinformation regarding handling the coronavirus dead in New York City. Plus, the issues we should be talking about, but aren’t.

Life, Death and the Anxiety In-Between

Death is scary but you are not alone.

Coming Soon: a video, and an article on grief and mourning. 

Body Care: Funerals, Burials, & Cremations 

Are Covid-19 bodies dangerous? What if someone dies at home? How are funeral homes handling Covid-19 bodies? Answers to these question and more, regarding Covid-19 and death care. 

Burials & Funerals Under Covid-19

These answers to FAQ about funeral care in the U.S. from The Order, is a living document, updated with answers and information from official, trusted sources on a regular basis. 

Ask a Mortician: Funerals in the Age of Coronavirus (video)

Updates on the funeral industry response to coronavirus, what we know about the dead bodies, and what funerals may look like going forward.

Information and Directives From Trusted Sources:

1. The Center For Disease Control (U.S.)

COVID-19 and Funerals

Information for Funeral and Crematory Practitioners

2. World Health Organization 

Infection prevention and control for the safe management of a dead body in the context of Covid-19

3. Association of Anatomical Pathology Technology

Considerations related to the safe handling of bodies of deceased persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (EU)

Perspectives on Infection Control in the Taharah Room

Recommendations and resources from Kavod v’Nichum and Gamliel Institute

Prayer and Funeral Issues Pertaining to Covid-19

Fiqh Council of North America has prepared the following guidelines for Muslim prayer and funerary rituals according to medical experts and the CDC. 

Funeral & Burial Guidance in Languages Other Than English*: 

Español

繁體中文 

简体中文 

*This information is from the New York City government. While it is good general information, please check with your local funeral homes and officials for specifics in your area.

General COVID-19 information in languages other than English

Center for Disease Control (U.S.)

CDC Resources in Languages Other Than English

Spanish

Enfermedad del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Chinese

冠状病毒(COVID-19)

Vietnamese

Vi-rút corona (COVID-19)

Korean

코로나바이러스 (COVID-19)

Home Funerals 

Home Funeral Guides and Pandemic Care  (video) 

A webinar from the National Home Funeral Alliance on suggested guidelines for home funeral care that covers safe and appropriate body care, what to expect when filing paperwork, and more. 

Dying and Caring For the Dying At Home

A pocket resource for folx caring for the dying and dead at home during the pandemic. Created by the Seattle based Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery & Community Death Care.

TALKING ABOUT DEATH 

In addition to considerations about discussing the topic of death during Covid-19, now is a crucial time to be discussing death, end of life care, and funeral plans with our loved ones in supportive, compassionate, and effective ways. 

Talking About Death During COVID-19

While the world seems precarious and mortality feels closer than ever, the simple question of “How are you doing?”, can feel loaded. The answer to that question might be, “Where do I begin?”

Talking About COVID-19 Without Being Ableist

While we are all struggling right now, it’s important to refrain from using ableist language as a coping mechanism. “It can be frustrating—and even triggering—to be constantly reminded that situations you live with every day are considered grim by others or that they’d be miserable if they were forced to share your reality.”

Resources By and For Disability Communities in the Time Of Covid-19

This is a living document with crowd-sourced content.

Everyone Deserves a Death Buddy: The Value of Death Positive Friendships

Everyone should have someone who you can share your curiosity and fears surrounding death with in a safe and relatively matter-of-fact manner.

Death Cafe

Death Cafes are a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. Check the Death cafe calendar to find online cafes you can participate in, or email Betsy Trapasso at betsy@betsytrapasso.com who is hosting ongoing cafes via Zoom.

The Importance of Talking About Death During the Covid-19 Pandemic 

It’s Time To Talk About Death

 “Talking about death is ultimately talking about life — about who and what matters to us, and how we can live well even when we are dying. Rather than being motivated by fear and anxiety, we can open these discussions from a place of care and concern.”

We Can’t Be Squeamish About Death. We Need To Confront Our Worst Fears

Patients, their families, and their doctors need to be open about the inevitable as the virus sweeps through our population.

Coronavirus: Doctors Urge Conversations About Dying

Doctors are urging people to have a conversation about what they would want if they, or their loved ones, became seriously unwell with coronavirus.

Talking to Our Loved Ones About Death 

Ask a Mortician: Overcoming DEATH DENIAL In Your Family (video)

Great tips on how to begin this important conversation and what to do when they change the subject. 

Ask a Mortician: Talking to your Parents About Death (video)

Helpful advice on starting and maintaining conversations about death and end of life wishes.

12 Tough Questions To Ask Your Parents

As challenging as it may be to initiate the conversation such communication is key to helping ensure that your family’s wishes are clear now, not when you are in crisis, and it is too late. 

The Conversation Project

This starter kit is a useful tool to help you have the conversation with a family member, friend, or other loved one about your – or their – wishes regarding end-of-life care. It is available in several languages.

Talking to Children

Ask a Mortician: Talk to Your Children About Death (video) 

The importance of talking about death with children, and why it is never too early to start. 

The Longest Shortest Time: Kids Ask About Death (podcast)

Answering questions from parents and children about death, as well as death positive parenting guidance from a former early childhood educator on age appropriate talk, with clear, specific examples.

Kid-Friendly Explanations About Death and Causes of Death 

From The Sharing Place, a grief support organization for children provides these fact-based explanations to give your kids and teens, in lieu of confusing euphemisms like “Grandmas is just sleeping.”

Talking With Children About Coronavirus

Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear. CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.

Books About Death and Grief For Children and YA

In the Books section of our resource guide there are sections devoted to both children and young adults.

Planning and Protecting Your End of Life Wishes

Order of the Good Death’s Funeral and End of Life Planning Guide 

Our guide answers your most FAQ – Everything from body donation, to deciding if cremation is right for you, to including beloved pets in your plans. 

Ask A Mortician: Making Your Death Plan (video)

How to provide step by step directions for your loved ones on how you want your remains handled.

Death in the Afternoon: “Get Your Sh*t Together”(podcast)

Facing your mortality through piles of bureaucracy is about the least inspiring task on your to-do list. But paradoxically, these are the exact tasks that once you tackle them head on, put you on a one way train to chill town.

Create An Advance Directive

Taking action to ensure your end of life and death care wishes can be daunting, but we assure you that it can be done, and we’re here to help. We all have the right to have our ultimate wishes respected, but to ensure that they are, you’ll need to take action by creating your advance directive, appointing a health care proxy, and in some states, designating a funeral agent. We explain the process in three steps HERE. When you are ready to create your Advance Directive visit THIS page we created in collaboration with Cake, to download the documents you will need in your state of residence. We also have specific resources for trans and non-binary individuals HERE. With office closures and “social distancing” requirements, in-person meetings can shift to video platforms and/or telephone connections. Draft documents can be sent via email or U.S. Mail. Additional details HERE.

FUNERALS AND BEING WITH THE DYING IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING 

Practical advice, tips, and inspiration, as well as information on locating financial assistance if needed. 

Funerals & Dying in Absentia: Inspiration  & Tips During Covid-19

How can we honor a life in the absence of funeral? What can we do to show our love when we can’t be there to hold the hand of a dying loved one? How can we cultivate social and emotional connection without the benefit of being physically present?

Alternative Mourning Rituals

During Ebola outbreaks in 2014-2016 families had to come up with alternative solutions for death and mourning rituals that gave family members peace of mind.

Creative Rituals For Death In the Times Of COVID-19 (video)

A few ideas for touching the dying and dead, when you can’t even touch your own face.

Virtual Funerals During the Pandemic (video)

A tutorial on creating and hosting a virtual funeral, including providing a template for creating a virtual funeral program. 

Netiquette Regarding Digital Legacies and Dealing with Death, Tragedy, and Grief

Grieving, memorializing, and providing support online, as well as best practices for sharing “bad news” or death notifications digitally.

Financial Assistance For Funerals & Ideas On How to Eliminate Unnecessary Costs 

Financial Assistance For Funerals 

Getting State Assistance For A Funeral Or Burial 

Some states offer social assistance for those who cannot afford it. benefits and requirements vary widely from state to state. 

211

Call 211 to be connected to a community resource specialist who can find community, health and disaster services in your area. 

How Social Security Can Help You When a Family Member Dies

Family members may be eligible to receive a one-time payment of $225 from Social Security. 

Faith Based Organizations 

There are numerous faith-based organizations particularly for Muslim and Jewish burials that provide help to those in need, just use Google to locate. Many churches also provide help for their active members. 

Comparing Prices Isn’t Disrespectful and It can save You Thousands

How to be your own advocate and save on funeral expenses. 

Ask A Mortician: 3 Ways To Save On Funerals (video)

Three simple strategies that can save you thousands. 

Why the Funeral Rule Is One Of the Least-Known Consumer Protection Laws in the Country

The Funeral Rule is intended to protect consumers at a time when they are grieving and emotionally vulnerable, making informed financial decisions difficult.

MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH 

Advice on how to manage your own grief, death fears, and anxiety as well as ways you can help or companion others. 

Death Anxiety 

It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok : Chapter on Grief and Anxiety

For many, the coronavirus has caused a huge spike in their anxiety levels. If you’ve already lost someone, it’s easy to fall into an anxiety spiral about losing more people. In this chapter from her book, Megan Devine helps you navigate your anxiety (and understand how it intersects with your grief). 

Facing the Fact Of My Death 

“As a child, confronting my mortality was terrifying. Now it is an opportunity.” 

Life, Death and the Anxiety In-Between

Death is scary but you are not alone.

Ask A Mortician: Why Are You Afraid of Death? (video)

The best place to start facing down your fear of death is to define what it is about death that scares you.

Ask a Mortician: Confronting Your Death (video)

Tips for staring down your inevitable mortality. 

Grace In Dying 

The Grace in Dying Meditation series is for individuals seeking greater reverence for their life, as well as people who are experiencing anxiety around death and dying.

Coming Up This Week: A new article from The Order on Death Anxiety.

Grief and Mourning 

That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief

“The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. This is hitting us and we’re grieving. Collectively. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.”

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Coronavirus

Even if you have not been directly impacted by COVID-19, there is no question that this is impacting the mental health of many of us.

There Are No Five Stages Of Grief

It is time to dismiss this harmful and inaccurate myth about grief. 

Ask a Mortician: Helping a Friend Through Grief (video) 

It may be awkward, but that’s ok. 

How Do You Help a Grieving Friend? (video)

It’s so hard to know what to do when your friends are hurting. The thing is, you can’t cheer someone up by telling them to look on the bright side, or by giving them advice. It just doesn’t work. Watch this video to learn the one thing that will improve all of your “I’m here for you” intentions, and be that supportive friend you most want to be

Netiquette Regarding Digital Legacies and Dealing with Death, Tragedy, and Grief

Grieving, memorializing, and providing support online, as well as best practices for sharing “bad news” or death notifications digitally. 

Jewish Grief & Mourning During the Pandemic

How the pandemic will require changes in traditional burial, mourning and grief. 

Grieving During Social Distancing For Teens

When it comes to teens and grief, peer support matters. Here’s how you can help. 

National Alliance for Grieving Children

For many that offer grief support to children, teens and those that care for them there are many challenges as a result of the social distancing that is necessary in light of the global pandemic. Here are some helpful resources.

 

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