Have you ever wondered what goes on in a funeral home? Ever thought about the persons involved in giving your loved ones a befitting burial? Have you ever considered the different levels of work involved in providing the best funeral services?
So who are these good-hearted people in charge of running a funeral home? What are their various roles?
The Funeral Director
This is a contemporary tag given to a person who helps to arrange the details of a funeral. Often considered synonymous with the mortician and the undertaker, the funeral director performs a slightly different role. The funeral director is the figurehead, in charge of all aspects of the funeral. The funeral director liaises with the families of the deceased, relevant authorities, and heads of funeral sites such as churches, cemeteries, and crematoriums.
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The Funeral Arranger
The funeral arranger, next in line in the hierarchy, works hand-in-hand with the funeral director to ensure the smooth running of funeral services. They take relevant details from the deceased’s family and pass on the information to the funeral director. Taking direct instructions from the funeral director, the funeral arranger works to ensure all elements of the funeral are covered, leaving no stone unturned.
Traditionally, the undertaker is the person directly responsible for the body of the deceased. In other words, they undertake the responsibility for the body and the burial. It is the undertaker that provides the coffin or casket that will be used for the traditional burial. In modern times, the role of the undertaker has evolved to include the provision of support and guidance to the bereaved to ensure the funeral service goes according to plan.
The embalmer serves the function of preserving the body of the deceased using embalming fluids. The most commonly used fluid is formaldehyde. More biodegradable liquids are available for embalming, most of them made from essential oils. Research suggests dry ice or dry heat are suitable alternatives, especially when transporting the deceased or before viewing.
An embalmer may choose to work independently. They are not obliged to work with funeral directors. Some funeral directors carry out the services of embalmers. Embalmers can also work as funeral directors, with the relevant training and qualifications.
The mortician typically works in the hospital setting. Most of them have a background in morbid anatomy, and as such, they carry out post-mortem examinations (or autopsy) on corpses to help clinicians ascertain the cause of death in medico-legal scenarios.
The Funeral Attendant
The funeral attendant is involved with all practical aspects of the funeral. They typically serve as pallbearers (those who carry the coffin during the funeral service). They may also drive the funeral car or arrange floral tributes to be delivered to the premises of the bereaved before the funeral.
No matter the level of involvement, all professionals work to ensure a funeral home delivers on their promise to meet client needs. The emphasis is on teamwork, as no single professional can do the work of all the others.