Compassion fatigue of funeral directors during and after the first wave of COVID-19

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Compassion fatigue has not been studied among funeral directors. Yet, funeral directors have been exposed to the same risks for compassion fatigue as other caregivers during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: An online survey was spread two times to 287 employees of funeral home DELA, in Belgium. Once during the height of the first wave of COVID-19 in Belgium, and a second time at the end of the first wave. The professional quality of life-scale 5 (PROQOL-5) was used to measure compassion fatigue, which includes burnout, compassion satisfaction and secondary trauma. Non-parametric tests were performed. Results: In total, 104 participants answered the first survey, and 107 the second. Burnout increases from survey 1 to survey 2 (P < 0.001), while compassion satisfaction (P = 0.011) and secondary trauma decrease (P < 0.001). In survey 1, only age (P = 0.007) and gender (P = 0.040) were found to be significantly associated with secondary trauma. In survey 2, having more work experience is associated with having a higher burnout (P = 0.008) and secondary trauma (P = 0.001) score. Neither for burnout (P < 0.001), nor for secondary trauma (P < 0.001) are there any respondents in the highest category. Conclusions: Although overall funeral directors do not have acute problems with compassion fatigue, burnout scores increase significantly after the first wave.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-709
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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