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Protocol for care homes and funeral directors during COVID-19

This joint protocol has been developed to ensure that funeral directors and providers of care in a residential setting are fully aware of the risks posed when an individual dies in a residential care setting and is either confirmed to have had COVID-19 or is suspected to have had it.  

The protocol has been developed by CPA member, National Care Forum, and the National Association of Funeral Directors. It is endorsed by the Care Provider Alliance and the National Association of Funeral Directors. 

This protocol is for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland collectively unless there are specific differences which are highlighted.

Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care updated the guidance for arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic to reflect new national restrictions introduced on 5 November 2020.  During this period, people are permitted to leave their homes to attend a funeral or religious, belief-based or ceremonial events that are linked to a funeral.

The CPA protocol has not yet been updated to reflect these changes.

Public Health England published Guidance for the care of the deceased with suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) on 15 May 2020.   

This guidance has been developed to ensure that:

  • The bodies of those who have died as a result of the coronavirus are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect; and
  • People who work to care for the deceased are protected from the infection.

This guidance is in place because it is believed there is a continuing risk of infection from the virus after death from body fluids and tissues.  

The guidance also includes advice for individuals working in residential care homes and hospices where a death is suspected to have occurred from COVID-19. 

The impact on other people living in the residential facility has also been considered by all involved.

Download Protocol for care homes and funeral directors - May 2020