Heartbreak for families saying goodbye to loved ones during COVID-19 pandemic

Funerals in Australia have now been limited to 10 people as part of the Federal Government's Stage 2 coronavirus restrictions.

Families saying goodbye to a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic have been left devastated seeing funeral directors take new approaches in how they deliver their services.

William Barrett and Sons director Adrian Barrett said they were heartbroken for all the families they were currently dealing with, and families in the future who will suffer the loss of a loved one while these restrictions were in place.

Mr Barrett said they understood for community safety that these measures needed to be in place, but it was tough for the people who had to deal with these restrictions.

"We had to make calls to people this morning to fill them in with the most up-to-date information, there are a lot of devastated people out there," he said.

"I think people are beginning to understand the seriousness of the potential this pandemic holds for us, even here in the South West.

"We are a couple of weeks behind the rest of the world and can see what's happened where these types of restrictions hadn't been put in place.

"It is a mixture of understanding and also sadness."

Mr Barrett said they would do everything that was legally possible to make their loved ones farewell as meaningful and inclusive as possible.

"Some of the ways we can do that is through webcasting funerals so people who cannot be physically there can be part of the ceremony," he said.

"We can record and upload a service which can be viewed at a later date.

"We really need to think of ways we can minimise the amount of staff we have at funerals so we can maximise the family's attendance, because we are included in that number of 10."

Busselton Hospice Care Inc chief executive officer Rosie Brown said if anyone in the community was struggling with end of life issues or did not understand the issues they were facing to contact their volunteers.

"That is our areas of expertise and we can talk them through and listen to their worries and concerns," she said.

"If they would like to be on a callback service so they get a call every couple of days or whatever we can be there with them, we can do that by phone."

Ms Brown said it was always devastating losing a loved one and the restrictions would add another layer of complexity to the grieving process.

She said people should observe the precautions they were being told to do, because the sooner people complied with the restrictions the shorter amount of time restrictions would be in place.

"If you need to access our services or others, don't be stoic this is not the time for that, this is the time to connect," she said.

BHCI has is adapted its services to ensure community members in need of bereavement support and carer education can still access its vital services.

BHCI volunteers will continue to provide support to current and new Bereavement Support clients but will do so over the phone.

They have also accelerated the delivery of its Community Outreach Carer Education Program, providing basic skills training for people caring for a very sick person at home.

The program will be delivered via video conference to ensure people can access it without having to attend face-to-face sessions. Carers will also be able to connect to this service over the phone.

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When the Community Connect service is established, it will be added to the Hospice website busseltonhospicecareinc.org.au and Hospice Facebook page. In the meantime please contact the Geographe Bay Centre on admin@busseltonhospicecareinc.org.au or 9751 1642.