With social distancing, movement control, and lockdowns occurring worldwide due to the coronavirus, many industries have been slowed down or halted. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the death care industry.
As Covid-19 continues to claim lives, the services of funeral homes are experiencing a spike in demand. The problem is that with health concerns regarding the virus impacting the way these companies operate, it becomes extremely challenging to uphold these two priorities: respect for the dead and public health.
On a more positive note, many death care service providers have already adapted to the pandemic, allowing services to continue despite the issues. Here are a few examples to demonstrate:
- Removal of jury inquests
One of the first things that changed was the removal of the jury inquest requirement upon an individual’s death.
Before the pandemic, when specific diseases cause death, it is required that a jury hears the evidence and reviews any questions that may relate to how the deceased died. This process takes quite a bit of time to complete, so the legal requirement of inquest has been removed specifically for individuals who died of Covid-19.
- Changes in funeral attendance
While most, if not all, funerals are attended by many different people who come to mourn the death of a loved one, the industry has put into action a few changes to uphold social distancing protocols. For example, funerals now can only be attended by the deceased’s immediate family.
There are other implementations put in place, such as holding closed-coffin-only funerals and offering live-streamed services. While these are done to conform to new policies, they have a detrimental effect on the grieving process. Families can no longer see or bid their loved one goodbye, nor feel the support they would have if friends and other loved ones were by their side.
- Relaxation of death registrations
In many cases, deaths are registered by one of the family members in person. However, to limit visits to the registrar’s office, non-family members, such as funeral directors, now have the ability to register a death on the family’s behalf. Not only that, but the documents needed for registration can be sent digitally.
At the same time, the original rule that a second doctor had to check the cause of death, specifically for victims of the virus, has also been relaxed. This was initially imposed to validate the claimed cause of death, but it was a process that took unnecessary time. Now the rule has been relaxed, the process is now faster, allowing for the deceased’s body to be registered much quicker.
These are just a few examples of what the funeral industry here in the UK has done so far to adapt to the ongoing pandemic. There is no hiding the fact that the changes have not helped families feel any better when mourning their loved ones. Some can say that the experience is nothing short of traumatic. At the very least, they can still go through the funeral service to show respect to the deceased and mourn them.
That said, as time goes on, changes can still happen, as is the nature of a pandemic. Whether it gets worse or better, what we can know is that these industries will continue adapting to provide the services needed by many families to give their loved ones a proper send-off as best as possible.