Staff and Guest Safety Remain Top Priorities amidst Funerals & COVID-19
As the federal, provincial, and local public health guidelines regarding the coronavirus crisis evolve, Ottawa’s funeral industry continues to adapt to the rapidly changing realities of funerals & COVID-19. Like all other sectors, this industry has made substantial changes in their operational processes and physical infrastructure. Here are some insights into how the death care industry is managing funerals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilities Safety: Ottawa funeral homes have put in place a number of measures to keep their facilities clean and safe. This includes:
Stockpiling disinfectant supplies and replenishing essential tools by making necessary arrangements with suppliers.
Staff Safety: The early days of the pandemic saw a huge shortage of protective equipment and supplies. Whether it was body bags, plastic wrapping for potentially-infectious corpses, or Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves and masks, obtaining most products was difficult and had long wait times. However, now the funeral industry has geared up for a potential spike in coronavirus-related fatalities and proactively acquired the necessary supplies to keep the staff safe. Additionally, most funeral homes no longer allow their staff/employees to enter the hospital or long-term care homes while picking up and transporting the deceased. Instead, they deliver a stretcher and body bag to the door of the facility, and the staff inside is responsible for bagging the body and delivering it outside to the funeral home employee. Staggered Work Hours: Employees in the death care industry no longer work a typical 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. job. The limitation on total attendees and physical distancing requirements makes it impossible to hold multiple gatherings in the same building at the same time. Hence funeral, visitations, and other services are spaced further apart to allow every family the maximum number of mourners as per applicable rules. Guest Safety: Besides the enhanced safety protocols for the physical infrastructure and staff, funeral homes are doing everything possible to keep grieving families safe and comfortable. The goal is to ensure that families are able to say their final farewell and honor the deceased in a clean, risk-free environment despite the current constraints. COVID-19 related death care services: If it is a COVID-19 death, there are several other protocols that may apply, including specific rules for body handling or embalming procedures. Family members may have to remain under a minimum period of quarantine or self-isolation. Close relatives may be in a ‘high-risk for severe illness’ category, which means staying home is the best way for them to stay safe. For such cases the funeral industry has started offering end-to-end online funeral planning services, and is encouraging such families to arrange a virtual funeral for mourning the deceased.
Whether your loved one lost the battle against the novel coronavirus, or passed away due to some other reasons, the compassionate staff at First Memorial Funeral Services in Ottawa can help you in your time of grief. From direct cremations and burials, to simplified online funeral arrangements, we can customize a number of services to cater to your specific requirements and honor the wishes of the deceased.
For more information on our funeral services in Ottawa, call 613-860-2424 or contact us online