January 2023

Page A16 January 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A This month we will look at ID viewings or families wishing a viewing without embalming. This situation is occurring with more regularity as time goes on. Though this is not necessarily an “embalming” topic, it is still body preparation related and merits our attention and consideration. I was recently contacted by a chemical rep regarding this topic. Their company is working on putting together a recommended protocol of treatment and care for these situations. I know many states have statutes addressing this and many funeral homes have rules in place regarding the viewing of unembalmed bodies. The fact remains this is becoming more and more common, and we must adapt to keep up with the times, even if it isn’t particularly palatable on a personal level. Of primary consideration, what are the rules or statutes that must be followed in your particular state or country? What is allowed and not allowed? I’ve seen timelines in some states for holding remains, and after a certain period of time refrigeration or embalming is required. But many states have few guidelines in this regard. I know many funeral homes do not have refrigeration for a variety of reasons and this can often lead to difficult situations. But those without their own refrigeration often have a working relationship with a firm that does. Many firms don’t allow unembalmed bodies to be viewed, or they have very strict guidelines on this situation. But as a coroner as well as a funeral director, I have witnessed less than desirable results when funeral homes allowed ID viewings prior to cremation. The funeral home put forth very little effort…and it showed! The time it takes to prepare someone for a simple ID viewing can pay in big dividends. Perhaps elementary things can be done, such as bathing, a thorough disinfection, cleaning blood and such caused by disease or traumatic injury, and positioning the features. Some funeral homes will dress in a clean hospital gown, while some will insist on using the deceased’s By Wally Hooker, CFSP, MBIE own clothing. How about cavity treatment and legally developed consents and hold harmless documents? Perhaps after this minimal preparation, place the deceased on a dressing table with appropriate sheets, blankets and pillow, instead of a prep room headblock. Maybe even use a cremation/viewing casket specifically designed for this purpose. An embalming room is not the appropriate location for an ID viewing, and neither is an embalming table. Several years ago, a member of our church congregation died and the family selected our funeral home. When making the removal from the home, the family indicated it would be a direct cremation and they would “take care of the ashes.” This gentleman had a wife and several daughters (all out of town). The wife and one daughter were present as he passed in hospice care. They came in to make arrangements a short time later, bringing his clothing, dentures, and glasses. The widow asked if I would dress him and allow the other daughters an opportunity to see him that evening. I agreed, told them it would be short in duration, and to come at 5:00 PM. I bathed/disinfected, shaved, set features, trimmed his hair and dressed him. I placed him on a dressing table with pillow, sheets and blankets, and allowed his Purdue sweatshirt to show. Instead of only the widow and daughters showing up, their spouses, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews came rolling in. They brought photos, memorabilia, played the piano, sang hymns, had a short service, and stayed for three hours. I charged for a direct cremation. Lesson learned! We must be careful in our wording on our GPLs and charge for what we do. When the widow died, the family chose a low-cost cremation provider over an hour away to “save mom’s money.” Then they actually complained about how long it took for them to take their mother into their care. In a different situation, gentleman who was a wellknown financial advisor passed. He wanted a direct cremation and to be scattered on his horse farm. His Embalming 101 son was on vacation in Italy and wanted to see his father, but it would be three days before he could return. I suggested to the family that holding him that long could present problems, because of the way he died. They gave me permission to embalm. Three days later, the second wife, daughter and son came to see him. After getting them settled, I stepped out of the chapel for a few moments to give them privacy. When I returned, they were whispering in a small huddle. When they saw me, they approached and thanked me for how good he looked. The son went on to say that since his dad looked so good, and had had so many friends, family and colleagues, they’d like to change the arrangements. He asked if we could arrange a traditional same-day visitation/service. We changed the obituary, added times/dates and over 500 people got the opportunity to say goodbye and share their condolences in person. We just can’t out-think the families we serve…we never know! What is appropriate for one family may not be the wishes of others. It is no longer business as usual, and as I said earlier, we must adapt, or we will fall behind. Remember, “Do what everyone else isn’t doing!” It will help you stand out. If anyone wishes to share their thoughts or suggestions on ID/unembalmed viewings, I would be pleased to hear from you. Reach me at undertaker915@hotmail.com. See you next month! Wallace P. (Wally) Hooker CFSP, MBIE, is the owner, funeral director and embalmer of Family & Friends Funeral Home of Wingate, IN. He and his wife, Janet designed, established and built their funeral home in 2004. Wally is a graduate of Worsham College of Mortuary Science, where he serves on the Advisory Board. He is Past President of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association and board member of North American Division of the British Institute of Embalmers. In addition, he has served as chief deputy coroner/investigator of Fountain County, IN for the last 24 years. F U N E R A L H O M E & C E M E T E R Y N E W S w w w . N o m i s P u b l i c a t i o n s . c o m Monthly Columnsonline at Concerns of Viewing the Unembalmed Remains Trusted, premier supplier of cremation supplies, funeral home products, urns, cemetery products and services throughout New England, New York, and America. Family owned and operated since 1995 800-664-8365 necremation@metrocast.net www.necremation.com Free Supplies. FREE Operator Training Video. Settlements can now be used to purchase cremation supplies from our affiliate company, New England Cremation Supply. Customer Loyalty Rewards Program Family Owned and Operated since 1995 Cremation Metal Recycling 800-664-8365 cremation metal recycling - responsible recycling charitable foundation cmr@metrocast.net www.cremationmetalrecycling.com nosed with cancer of the pituitary gland. He says this was actually a blessing because he realized that he didn’t need to have a license to transport, which is where his interest lies. Priority One Fulfillment Services Global, LLC dba POFS GLOBAL has provided services for a couple of funerals where the body was too big for a hearse and the transport service was available to provide transport. “We have that patience and empathy with families, because they’re still grieving. They may think they’re okay, but once we get that gurney out and they see it, reality sets and emotions hit,” says Curtis. For more information, contact Priority One Fulfillment Services Global, LLC at 877-846-2467 or email them at info@pofsglobal.com. Continued from Page A8 POFS Global Anniversary AUBURN,ME— Steve Lynch has joined Milestone Funeral Partners after having spent over 33 years in finance, accounting and business development, specifically in the deathcare industry. As the new Vice President of Finance, Steve is responsible for all facets of financial analysis and reporting including internally to managing partners, externally to investors, and in unison with our business development efforts when collaborating with future partners. Steve started his career in the deathcare industry in 1988, after studying Accounting at the University of Notre Dame. He spent 26 years with Stewart Enterprises, starting as a staff accountant and moving through the organization in a variety of roles including Acquisition Manager, Controller, Director of Growth, Director of Administration, Operations Vice President, and Chief Financial Officer. Most recently, 7 plus years spent with Service Corporation International provided additional opportunities for growth and development. Steve has had financial responsibility for over 300 businesses across the entire Eastern United States as well as full operational responsibility for up to 75 businesses in the Southeast. Steve has developed an extenMilestone Funeral Partners Hires Vice President of Finance, Steve Lynch Steve Lynch sive knowledge of both the financial and operational workings for funeral homes, cemeteries, crematories, and monument companies. He has served the industry in many association and state board roles throughout his career as well as volunteering his time for education, community, youth sports, and disaster relief organizations. He is married to Dee, his college sweetheart, and together they currently reside in Greenville, SC with plans to relocate to Maine. They enjoy cooking, travelling, and spending time with their adult children, Jack and Molly. Milestone Partners is a privately owned, equity funded funeral, cemetery, and crematory company specializing in suburban and mid-sized rural markets, with over 14 properties across the Northeast. Milestone provides owners considering succession, retirement, or recapitalization with numerous flexible equity options due to their private equity backed structure. The company also supports local charities as well as its own philanthropies including funds supporting small historical cemeteries, and its own student-intern scholarships. For more information, visit www.milestonefuneralpartners.com, or find them on Facebook or LinkedIn. SEND US YOUR NEWS! PO Box 5159, Youngstown, OH 44514 1-800-321-7479 info@nomispublications.com