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SAGE Palliative Medicine & Chronic Care

Mar 13, 2024

This episode features Dr Fiona Kenney and Koby Anderson, (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada Bruyère Research Institute, Ottawa, ON, Canada)


What is already known about the topic?

  • Previous research demonstrates a high prevalence of severe grief symptoms up to a year post-death of a loved one among those who experienced bereavement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • No previous study has assessed changes in the severity of grief more than a year after the death of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic.


What this paper adds?

  • This prospective cohort follow-up study found the prevalence of severe grief reaction remained high (28.8%) at 12–18 months post- family member death.
  • One-third (33.3%) of family members experienced persistently high or worsening grief symptoms at the time of their 12–18-month assessment compared to baseline 6–12-month assessment.
  • Grief severity was associated with endotracheal intubation in the deceased, but not with the cause of death (e.g., COVID vs non-COVID illness) or physical presence/absence of the family member at the bedside in the final 48 h of life.


Implications for practice, theory, or policy

  • There is a persistent, elevated risk of severe grief among family members who experience bereavement during the pandemic period, even up to 18 months post-death of the decedent.
  • There is an urgent need for effective and scalable means of addressing severe grief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Full paper available from:


If you would like to record a podcast about your published (or accepted) Palliative Medicine paper, please contact Dr Amara Nwosu: