Project image: healthcare personnel with protective equipment interacting with patients in a hospital ward

Project: Experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions

The project's goal is to find knowledge about how relatives and staff have experienced the Covid-19 pandemic. What significance has the pandemic and the restrictions had and what do we need to take with us to be prepared for future pandemics.

Project information

Project manager
Anna Bratt
Other project members
Anna Sandgren, Linnaeus University, Viktor Carlsson och Emma Lindeblad, Region Kronoberg och Linnaeus University, Ingrid Gustafsson, Högskolan i Borås och Linnaeus University samt Eva Meakin, Svenska Kyrkan
Participating organizations
Linnaeus University, Region Kronoberg, Högskolan i Borås och Svenska Kyrkan
1 Sept 2021–31 Dec 2023
Caring Science (Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences)

More about the project

In December 2019, a new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was discovered that causes the disease Covid-19, the virus is one of six coronaviruses that, in addition to mammals and birds, also affects humans. The spread of the virus globally was fast and after a few months the WHO classified Covid-19 as a pandemic. Many countries introducing restrictions to protect the population such as keeping distance, restrictions on freedom of movement and the ability to gather in groups. In Sweden, public events and gatherings were initially limited to a maximum of 500 people, which was later changed to only 8 people, except for funerals when 20 people were allowed.

During the pandemic, the course of the disease has progressed rapidly, and death has often been completely unexpected. The restrictions that were drawn up have affected the relatives' ability to say goodbye to their close relatives, but also their ability to find social support in the situation with family and friends. This, in turn, can have an impact on how the relatives move on in life after the loss.

Previous research shows the importance of saying goodbye to the deceased, participating in funerals and memorial ceremonies, for people's grieving process. The question is whether it changes or how it changes in connection with a pandemic. There is a need to research the relatives' experiences of having lost a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic. Partly to increase understanding of the relative's situation, partly to understand what support they need and what health care professional can provide in similar situations in the future.

The pandemic has also meant major changes for the staff in health care, psychiatry and palliative care. In all these areas, it has been important to reduce the spread of infection. This has meant that the healthcare professional have used protective equipment, which creates a distance from the person to be cared for. In all areas, physical contact is natural to show empathy, human warmth and comfort to patients, which has not been possible in connection with the restrictions. It can create an internal conflict in the professional, wanting to do but not being able to.

International research shows the professional's sense increased stress, mental ill-health, emotional stress and exhaustion, ability to care and the worry of getting infected themselves. There are also positive experiences such as support, solidarity between colleagues and public appreciation. However, there is a need for research based on a Swedish context, how the staff experience working in ospecial accommodation for elderly during the Covid-19 pandemic? How did psychiatric staff experience the meeting with the mentally ill regarding restrictions in the pandemic? What is essential for healthcare professionals when caring for patients with palliative care needs during the pandemic? With our research, we hope to provide knowledge that can be useful in the future in similar situations.


The project is part of the research in the Centre of Interprofessional Collaboration within Emergency care (CICE) research group.