August 2022

Page A16 August 2022 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Se c t i on A ©adfinity® Contact us today to learn more. (888) 889-8508 • Discover the... Want to earn extra income and offer families peace of mind? Often, I am called upon by other practitioners, seeking technical assistance/consultation on difficult embalming and restorative cases. I’m always pleased to assist and find great satisfaction in guiding a colleague in the right direction. There is never a charge to anyone needing a helping hand…through the years there have always been people there for me. I have discussed some of this in previous articles and lectures, and unfortunately it bears repeating. One disturbing thing I have learned is that many embalming rooms are grossly under-supplied with the basic necessities required to tackle challenging embalming and soft tissue/reconstructive repair. Many owners/managers, who are far removed from the day-to-day operation of the embalming room, are not interested in stocking up on items not used daily or things they aren’t familiar with. This is a recipe for embalming/ body preparation failures. Don’t be caught in the midst of a battle only to find you are lacking the basic items needed for a successful outcome! An under-supplied embalmer will struggle to be successful without the proper supplies. I’m always amused when I see on social media an embalmer blaming a specific embalming machine or chemical for embalming failures. Folks, “It’s not the car, it’s the driver!” Study, understand and learn how to properly use the chemicals at your disposal. A variety of specialized arterial embalming chemicals and accessory fluids are a must. Bodies of today are different than 25 years ago. They demand chemicals specifically designed to overcome common issues. Challenges include edema, emaciation, overdose deaths, chemotherapies, drug interventions, bloodborne pathogens, obese cases, COVID, tissue gas…the list goes on and on. It is incumbent on today’s embalmer to observe and understand what the body is telling them. Based on that assessment, you must have a full understanding of the chemicals in your cabinet and how to use them. Anything less is asking for trouble and possible embarrassment when things “go south.” I have never understood why an owner proudly boasts about purchasing a new funeral coach, yet skimps on the embalming room! Many embalmers who have attended my lectures over the years will report back to me. They requested some of the chemicals and products I spoke about. But they were dismissed by the boss, and told they were getting along just fine without it. Unfortunately, you can’t fix that mentality. Bodies and chemicals have changed and if you’re not keepBy Wally Hooker, CFSP, MBIE ing up, you’ll be falling behind. One embalmer told me that his boss doesn’t believe in aspiration. I thought, “That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen!” It amazes me how many owners are clueless about the importance of quality body presentation. I’d like to quote our Iowa FDA Executive Director Andy Clayton: “Do you want to be a part of the renaissance of the future of funeral service or be a pallbearer? Our problems are because we have become complacent, presenting sloppy bodies, paying little attention to detail and not caring enough to beat the drum of our own value.” I’m not sure about you folks, but I am not about to go down without a fight. My everyday goal is to accommodate and satisfy families, who will come back when they need a funeral home again. I want to leave families in a better place than I found them. I’m not at all interested in who follows me and adores me on social media. A well-stocked embalming room will certainly give you an advantage in achieving great results. As I consult with folks across the country, I often hear about a lack of basic products, usually because the owner won’t allow the purchase. Some do not have a properly operating embalming machine or a total lack of PPE. Some have only one type of arterial chemical for all cases, little or no accessory fluids, or no cauterizing chemicals. Other missing necessities include protective plastic garments, shrink-wrap, waxes, mortuary putty, adult diapers, absorbent sheets, dyes, humectants, electric iron/tissue reducer, artificial skin, adhesives, absorbent powders, and disinfecting spray. I hear the frustration of embalmers who strive to be the best, but are held back as a result of the frugality of management. We need to be part of the solution, not part of the problem! I will attempt to list what I feel are/were game changers for me. • An (APC) automatic pressure control embalming machine. • A variety of arterial chemicals necessary for the normal case, as well as to overcome problem cases such as edema, jaundice, tissue gas, donor bodies, emaciation, CJD, lengthy refrigeration, drownings and decomps. One chemical is not appropriate for all cases. Arterial fluids with dyes and humectants are a bonus! • Humectants: my favorite is a pink product that is designed to rehydrate/plump tissue when introduced through the arterial embalming as a co-injection with the arterial solution. It provides great results for the emaciated body by uniformly plumping the tissue. Using this product effectively can eliminate the need for tissue building. It also Embalming 101 provides a benefit when embalming refrigerated bodies and has many applications as a topical product, to prevent dehydration and loosen/remove cradle cap and the waxy mold found on the face. • Pre-injection/co-injection chemicals are a basic staple that have proven effective to aid in drainage and diffusion. • A hexaphene-based pink gel is an incredible product used in topically treating under-embalmed tissue, premature infants, skin-slip, raw tissue, and the list of possible uses is endless. When applied and covered with plastic it penetrates deeply, preserves tissue, reduces edema, dries tissue, does not bleach and is more effective than hypoing. • Chemicals to treat tissue gas are an absolute must. You should never take a shortcut when dealing with the possibility. • I encourage utilizing warm water and restricted drainage to treat the deep tissue. I personally restrict drainage throughout arterial embalming. Most of this is simply common sense. Anyone who has spent much time in an embalming room recognizes the importance of being prepared for any scenario. When the bell rings and you are under the gun, it’s a little late to place an order. Many trade embalmers have admitted to me that they routinely bring their own supplies and fluids to cover possible shortcomings in the supplies of their trade accounts. These embalmers are true professionals who will not sacrifice embalming results due to a lack of preparation or foresight. These are the types of professionals who embalm for outcome – income is secondary. They make us all look good! Stay safe and 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 Are You Prepared? In 2007, Graf and Roberson acquired the business, having both been employed at the funeral home since the 1980s. Speaking with Roberson, he mentioned that with him and Graf each having over 30 years in funeral service, they wanted to start looking at the next chapter in their careers. Although considering a few partners, the co-owner’s ultimately felt Greg Rollings was the right fit due to his focus on community and desire to keep everything about the business the same. “Greg is a family-oriented guy, not corporate, and focused on community and we knew our business was passing into good hands,” said Roberson. Looking to the future of the funeral home, Roberson mentioned that he and Graf are excited that Rollings Funeral Service will allow them to deliver the same highest level of death care that the community has come to expect since 1848. Annually, Keeney & Basford Funeral Home serves around 350 families. With almost 80 locations, Rollings Funeral Service is one of the largest private funeral home owners in the eastern United States. With each of their firms operated on the local level, their managers work directly with Rollings Funeral Service to establish budgets, pricing, and best practices. They also pride themselves on being a great alternative to selling to a publicly traded company and they continue to search for firms that will be a great fit to their growing family of funeral homes. Rollings Funeral Service Announces Addition Continued from Page A15 ily until the firm was sold in the 1970s to employees Frank R. Smith, Donald M. Fadeley, Robert W. Keeney and Richard C.C. Basford. The funeral home was then renamed Keeney & Basford Funeral Home. @Nomis.Publications Like us on