COVIDEHPAD: perceptions and attitudes related to confinement, end-of- life and death in nursing homes during the first wave of the Covid-19 epidemic in France.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed drastically the way we live. Elderly people living in nursing homes ("EHPAD" in France), their families and the professionals working there were particularly impacted by this crisis. In this context, it seemed essential to keep record of their experiences by collecting their testimonies as soon as possible (in order to not repeat the problem of the lack of data collected during the 2003 heat wave crisis). This is why the French National Platform for End-of-life Research is coordinating since the beginning of April 2020 a qualitative multicenter study to observe and analyze in real time the consequences of the pandemic in these institutions.

In six regions of France (Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Grand Est, Hauts de France, Ile-de-France and Bretagne), researchers in human and social sciences conducted interviews with EHPAD professionals and, when possible, with residents and their families. These interviews help to understand the experiences and feelings towards confinement, end of life and death during the first wave of COVID-19 in France.

The analysis enlightens the impact of the situation on their perception of end of life and death. The aim of this research is to assess the diversity of situations and to show how professionals and residents tried to cope with this crisis and its consequences.

Coordinator of the COVIDEHPAD study

See COVIDEHPAD study on the World Pandemic Research Network


  • French National Platform for End-of-life Research (Bourgogne Franche-Comté University - UBFC)


  • Besançon University Hospital Center (CHU)


  • French National solidarity fund for autonomy (CNSA)
  • French Ministry of  Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI)
  • French National Centrer for Scientific Research (CNRS)


  • Société Française d’Accompagnement et de Soins Palliatifs (SFAP)
  • Société Française de Gériatrie et de Gérontologie (SFGG)
  • Conseil National Professionnel (CNP) de Gériatrie
  • Association des Directeurs au service des Personnes Âgées (AD-PA)
  • Comité analyse, recherche et expertise (CARE) Covid-19

Study design

Phase 1

Observation and description of the phenomenon during the FIRST peak

Observe and describe through qualitative interviews : 

  • The experiences of health professionals in EHPAD, residents and their families. 
  • The issues related to the end of life and death in EHPAD during the Covid-19 epidemic

Phase 2

Follow-up and DATA analysis
  • Data analysis and interpretation
  • Interpretation and validation of results
  • Follow-up of bereaved relatives

Phase 3

Recommendations and disseminination
  • Analysis of situations linked to bereavement issues
  • Study report
  • Feedback to respondents
  • Scientific publications and communications


In each region included in the study, the researchers conducted individual interviews by phone or video-conference and, after deconfinement, face-to-face interviews in nursing homes with volunteer professionals, families and residents. They took contact with the EHPAD by their own regional network and by the mobile palliative care and geriatric teams. To date, 269 interviews were conducted in 52 nursing homes. 

The interview guides were drawn up with the scientific committee of the study and the researchers guaranteed the strict anonymity of the data and the greatest confidentiality during the interviews.

The interdisciplinary research group is composed of specialists of human and social sciences research, such as sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and philosophers. 

COVIDEHPAD research group


French National Platform for End-of-life research
Régis AUBRY, Physician, co-chair of the Plateform
Elodie CRETIN, philosopher, director of the Plateform


Laboratories and researchers involved in the study , by region of investigation :


Centre Max Weber - UMR 5283
Saint-Étienne University
Gaëlle CLAVANDIER, anthropologist, associate professor
Camille Idjouadiene, anthropologist, master student
Laure BOURDIER, sociologist, research engineer

PACTE, laboratoire de sciences sociales
Grenoble Alpes University
Cherry SCHRECKER, sociologist, professor
Pauline LAUNAY, sociologist, post-doctoral researcher
Elizabeth MORILLE, sociologist, master student


Centre d’investigation clinique (CIC 1431 INSERM)
Besançon University Hospital
Aline CHASSAGNE, socio-anthropologist, researcher
Florence MATHIEU-NICOT, psychologist, researcher
Hélène TRIMAILLE, sociologist, researcher
Simon CALLA, sociologist, researcher
Justine GROSPERRIN, sociologist, PhD student


Laboratoire d’études et de recherche en sociologie  (LABERS) - EA 3149
University of Bretagne Occidentale
Françoise LE BORGNE UGUEN, sociologist, professor 
Clément DESBRUYERES, sociologist, PhD student


Laboratoire Lorrain de Sciences Sociales (2L2S)
University of Lorraine
Elodie FORNEZZO, sociologist, PhD student
Laurena TOUPET, sociologist, PhD student
Frédéric BALARD, sociologist, associate professor

Hauts de France

Centre de Recherches « Individus, Épreuves, Sociétés » (CeRIES) - ULR 3589
Lille University
Michel CASTRA, sociologist, professor
Vincent CARADEC, sociologist, professor
Germain BONNEL, sociologist, PhD student
Noémie GILLOT, sociologist, master student
Esther SANSONE, sociologist, master student


Laboratoire Sciences, Philosophie, Histoire (SPHERE)  - UMR 7219
Paris University
Mathilde LANCELOT, philosopher, associate professor
Maria Christina MURANO, philosopher, post-doctoral researcher

Scientific Committee

Régis AUBRY, physician
Associate professor of palliative medicine
Head of the Autonomy and Disability Unit 
Besançon University Hospital
Clinical investigation center (CIC 1431 INSERM)
Integrative and Clinical Neurosciences Laboratory - EA 481
University of Franche-Comté
Member of the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE)
Co-Chair of the French National Platform for End-of-life Research

Patrick BAUDRY, sociologist
Professor of sociology at Bordeaux Montaigne University
Associate researcher at Laboratoire d’anthropologie des institutions et des organisations sociales (LAIOS) CNRS - EHESS
Director of Maison des sciences de l’homme (MSH) d’Aquitaine

Elodie CRETIN, philosopher
Director of the French National Platform for End-of-life Research
Researcher in human and social sciences
Clinical investigation center (CIC 1431 INSERM)  - CHU of Besançon
Associate researcher at Logiques de l'Agir laboratory - EA 2274
University of Franche-Comté

Laurent CALVEL, physician
Associate Professor of Palliative Medicine
Head of the Accompaniment, Support and Palliative Care Service (SASP) at the University Hospitals of Strasbourg
President of the Collège national des enseignants pour la formation universitaire de soins palliatifs (CNEFUSP) of the Société française d'accompagnement et de soins palliatifs (SFAP)
Clinical investigation center (CIC 1431 INSERM) - Besançon University Hospital
Integrative and clinical neurosciences laboratory EA 481 - University of Franche-Comté

Marie GAILLE, philosopher
Research Director CNRS
SPHERE Laboratory - UMR 7219 CNRS
University of Paris Diderot
Deputy Scientific Director at the Institute of Human and Social Sciences (ISHS)
​​​​​​Co-Chair of the French National Platform for End-of-life Research

Adrien EVIN, physician
Head of clinic, hospital assistant specialist
Palliative care and support service, Nantes University Hospital

Clémence GUILLERMAIN, PhD student in philosophy of sciences
SPHERE Laboratory - UMR 7219 CNRS
University of Paris Diderot

Sophie PENNEC, demographer
Research Director at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED)
Adjunct associate professor at The Australian National University (ANU)

Thomas TANNOU, physician
Geriatrics Department of the University Hospital of Besançon
Clinical investigation center (CIC 1431 INSERM)
Laboratory of Integrative and Clinical Neurosciences EA481, University of Franche-Comté

Emmanuelle CAMBOIS, demographer
Research Director at the Institut national d'études démographiques (INED), member of the Mortality, Health, Epidemiology and Economic Demography research units and co-director of the Ageing and old age division.
Director of the Institute of Longevity, Ageing and Aging (ILVV)

Jean-Marie ROBINE, demographer, gerontologist
Research Director at INSERM
Research Center for Medicine, Science, Mental Health and Society (Cermes3)
Molecular mechanisms in neurodegenerative dementia laboratory - UMR-S 1198
Director of studies at the École pratique des hautes études (EPHE)
Associate researcher at the National Institute of Demographic Studies (INED

Frédéric BALARD, anthropologist
Associate professor at the University of Lorraine
Lorraine Laboratory of Social Sciences (2L2S)
Editor in chief of the journal Gérontologie et société

President of the Association of directors serving the elderly AD-PA