The Effects of the 2020 COVID-19 Extreme Death Event on the Health of Funeral Industry Workers

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The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed America’s emergency response and medical systems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ([CDC], 2020) defined the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic as an extreme death event causing a large number of people to die in a short period of time. This study examined the impact of the COVID-19 extreme death event on the funeral industry. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to analyze the effects of the 2020 COVID-19 extreme death event on the health of funeral industry workers and the subsequent possible impact on the overall funeral care industry. This researcher conducted 20 interviews with funeral industry workers who worked in funeral homes in 2020. The phenomenological interviews captured the data from the personal experiences shared by each of the participants. This study demonstrated how the extreme death event resulted in the emotional distress of funeral industry workers. The findings from this study concluded that funeral industry workers are essential workers in a national health crisis who suffer the same stresses that first responders and medical professionals suffer. The findings provided information about improving the health of all essential workers during a national health crisis and thereby improving the systems that address public health. This study may produce further interest in individuals who work in the deathcare industry and help to bring the value of their services on par with those of first responders.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration, Public Health