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Memorialisation during COVID-19: implications for the bereaved, service providers and policy makers
© The Author(s) 2020. Background: The aim of this rapid perspective review is to capture key changes to memorialisation practices resulting from social distancing rules implemented due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Method: As published peer-reviewed research pertaining to memorialisation practices during the COVID-19 pandemic is lacking, this rapid review includes academic literature from the pre-COVID-19 period and international media reports during the pandemic. Findings: Changes to memorialisation practices were under way before COVID-19, as consumer preferences shifted towards secularisation and personalisation of ritual and ceremony. However, several key changes to memorialisation practices connected with body preparation, funerals, cremation, burials and rituals have taken place as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Discussion: Although boundaries between public and private memorialisation practices were already blurred, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this process. Without access to public memorialisation, practices are increasingly private in nature. A number of implications are considered for the bereaved, service providers and policy makers. Conclusion: Forms of memorialisation and bereavement support emerging during the pandemic that blend the public and the private are likely to persist in a post-pandemic world.