Belgian funeral staff risk Covid burnout

Belgian funeral staff risk Covid burnout
Credit: Belga

Nearly one out of two funeral staff members was on the verge of burn-out in June, according to a new survey by funeral specialist DELA (Draagt Elkanders Lasten) and VUB.

The coronavirus crisis generated physical and mental fatigue among funeral staff, with 19% of the respondents saying they were at risk of burn-out in April. This figure rose to 45% after the peak of the pandemic in June. Increasingly difficult situations, such as the inability to organize the appropriate or desired goodbye, played a marked role in the increase, DELA reports.

A high level of compassion satisfaction – pleasure derived from being able to do your work – helped avoid burnout, according to results. During the first measurement, the level of compassionate satisfaction was extremely high for 69% of funeral employees. It was the same for 54% of respondents during the second measurement.

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“With this survey, we want to emphasize that the mental and physical burden of the funeral sector is not to be underestimated,” said DELA spokesperson, Lien Verfaille.

“Informally, the government, the expert groups and Sciensano recognize that it would not be unfair to place the funeral sector in the category of the health care sector,” she added.

This lack of recognition in the category means that the sector does not qualify for additional protective equipment and priority vaccination, DELA added.

The Brussels Times

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