End of Life

Page updated on 07/05/2020

End of Life of a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic 

Dealing with the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult things we have to go through in life. To keep everyone safe from the coronavirus, the very sick and dying cannot have their family around them and funerals are conducted differently.  However there still are ways to celebrate and mourn those we love and bid farewell in a meaningful way. 

Registering a death 

  1. All death registrations in Southend will now take place over the phone contact
    Southend: 01702 215009   
  2. Instead of the family having to collect the medical certificate of death, hospital and community doctors will now send this electronically to the Registrars offices. 
  3. Payments for the certificates will be taken by phone and the death certificate will be posted to the family. They will not be sent electronically. (Death Certificate £11.00 each.) 
  4. The Registrar’s Certificate of Burial or Cremation (The Green Form) will be issued electronically to the Funeral Director and Crematorium/Cemetery.  This will allow the funeral director to proceed with the funeral arrangements. 

Arranging a funeral 

Burial and cremation are both still options and this remains a matter of individual choice. This is particularly important for some faith communities. 

It is not advised to delay the funeral however a memorial service could be arranged for a later date when restrictions have been lifted. 

Funeral Service attendance 

Current emergency legislation states that attendance at funerals is to be limited. 

Only members of the immediate family who are not in any of the high-risk categories and are not self-isolating may attend. 

The immediate family being: 

  • Spouse/Partner 
  • Parents/carers 
  • Brothers/Sisters 
  • Children (and partners) 

Limiting attendees must be done sensitively and taking into account individual circumstances. For example, if the deceased person had few or no immediate relatives but a close friend wished to attend the service that would be reasonable. 

With social distancing in mind individual funeral directors may have suspended the use of limousines. Family are invited to follow the hearse in their own vehicles, or to meet directly at the crematorium or burial ground. 

Essex County Council’s guidance on how to register a death, arrange a funeral and get bereavement support: https://www.essex.gov.uk/coronavirus-and-faith/ 

Please note that no more than 10 people can attend a funeral in Essex. 

ehospice publishes palliative care news, views and inspiration from around the  world: https://ehospice.com/uk/ 

Organising a meaningful funeral during the Coronavirus pandemic 

Where possible the funeral service may be streamed online, allowing family that are self-isolating or who are unable to attend a chance to watch the service. You may create a service sheet which can be shared with everyone.  You could invite friends to write down their thoughts and memories which could be read out.  You may hold your own personal memorial time at home and this may be at an agreed time when other family and friends are doing the same in their own home. 

Please see the following link for further suggestions on organising a meaningful funeral. 

Organising a meaningful funeral during the Coronavirus pandemic  


Coronavirus Crisis Bereavement Line 01702 220 321 – Lines are open Monday – Sunday 9am to 6pm. 

Developed by Havens Hospices Wellbeing team.  A telephone helpline for bereaved adults and children whose loved one has died directly or indirectly as a result of Coronavirus. 

Speak to an experienced counsellor or bereavement worker who can listen, support and offer advice during these challenging times https://www.havenshospices.org.uk/coronavirus-crisis-bereavement-line/

Both those who experience loss as a consequence to COVID-19, or loss through another cause may experience increased trauma and may be cut off from some of their usual support network. 

Several UK bereavement charities and organisations offer guidance, advice, and support to deal with bereavement during this pandemic, both the practical and psychological aspects. 

When you are bereaved you should stay in touch with other people, however because of the virus this needs to be by telephone, video, and online. 

Further information and support is available from