EFTERLEVANDEGUIDEN - a collaboration between public authorities intended to make it easier for those who have lost a loved one

Efterlevandeguiden.se

HOW IS THE PANDEMIC AFFECTING END-OF-LIFE FAREWELLS AND FUNERALS

The spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 raises the issue of how we can safely meet and say farewell to loved ones at the end of life, as well as how funerals should be conducted. Efterlevandeguiden follows recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Sweden (Folkhälsomyndigheten) and the information contained in the guide is updated as and when required.

Saying goodbye during the pandemic

Relatives wishing to say farewell to a loved one who is in hospital or a care home need information about the procedures that apply to that facility.

Contact the relevant head of unit to find out what applies.

Arranging the funeral - don’t postpone but do adapt

According to Swedish law, the deceased shall be cremated or buried in a coffin no latter than one month after death. It is permitted to hold a cremation first and then a burial ceremony for the urn at a later date. Funerals play an important role in the grieving process.

It is always possible to hold a funeral service and it is important that you contact your parish or a funeral director as quickly as possible to find out about any special provisions regarding funerals during the pandemic. Do not postpone the funeral but be prepared to adapt your plans. The funeral director will be able to help you with this.

Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan) information on funerals during the pandemic (in Swedish) External link.

Funerals services for different faiths at the Swedish Agency for Support to Faith Communities (Myndigheten för stöd till trossamfund) (in Swedish) External link.

Swedish Association of Licensed Funeral Directors (SBF) on funerals (in Swedish) External link.

Fonus on funerals during the pandemic (in Swedish) External link.

Funeral guests and safety distance

The number of guests that are allowed at funerals depends on the ability to maintain a safety distance. Contact the funeral director to get information about what applies to your particular situation.

At memorial services, the Public Health Agency's recommendations applies and what kind of restrictions that exist in the premises.

Bear in mind

  1. try to plan the funeral as soon and with as few guests as possible;
  2. saying goodbye is an important part of the grieving process;
  3. the funeral should be adapted to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus;
  4. guests can participate in the funeral digitally
  5. there is no need to hold the funeral and the memorial service on the same day.

Webcasting the funeral

Many funeral directors offer live broadcasts of funerals, making it possible for anyone who for whatever reason is unable to attend in person to participate and follow the ceremony online in real time on the deceased’s memorial page.

Find out what services funeral directors can offer.

Memorial services and the burial of urns can be planned for a later date

It is permitted to hold a cremation first and then a burial ceremony for the urn at a later date. Once a cremation has taken place, the family has one year to decide on what form a ceremony and burial should take.

You may want to bury the coffin with only the closest relatives in attendance and then hold a memorial service for other friends and relatives at a later date.

Crisis information and support for relatives

Swedish public authorities and other stakeholders have compiled information regarding new conditions that may affect farewells at the end of life and funerals. This includes recommendations to relatives and more detailed information about current rules and regulations due to the pandemic.

Information and support for relatives, krisinformation.se (in English) External link.

Information and support for relatives, krisinformation.se (in Swedish) External link.

With due concern for the welfare of others, it is important to follow the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s (Folkhälsomyndigheten) recommendations not to meet others if you have any symptoms.

Sending flowers and making memorial donations

There is a website where you can search for a deceased individual and arrange to send flowers to the funeral or make a memorial donation if you unable to attend in person.

The website familjesidan.se shows obituaries and information on upcoming funerals (in Swedish) External link.

If you arrange the funeral yourself

If you are a relative who is arranging the funeral yourself, you will need a certificate from the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) stating that the deceased may be cremated or buried. Contact the Swedish Tax Agency to order the certificate Kremering/gravsättning.

Contact details for the Swedish Tax Agency External link.

Occupational injuries and fatalities as a result of the coronavirus

Anyone who has contracted COVID-19 through their work nursing or treating those with the disease may be entitled to financial compensation. In the event of occupational injury, the individual may be entitled to an annuity from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

In the event of death, survivors are entitled to an annuity or funeral allowance from the Swedish Pensions Agency (Pensionsmyndigheten). This applies to occupational injuries incurred from 1 February 2020 onwards.

Compensation for occupational injury at försäkringskassan.se External link.

Compensation for work-related fatalities, pensionsmyndigheten.se (in Swedish) External link.


Ask others to help you

Do not hesitate to ask for help with what feels difficult and to receive help if you are offered.

Last updated: 2021-09-10