Page Updated Monday 23rd March 2020
We are currently facing very uncertain times as the COVID-19 epidemic unfolds across the United Kingdom.
It’s difficult to say how, as a country, we will be able to say goodbye to the people we love and care about in the coming weeks but below is our current, best-thinking approach about how we will manage future funeral arrangements over the coming weeks or months.
Firstly – If you are feeling unwell and feel you may pose a risk by attending a funeral, we would advise you to follow the NHS guidelines.
As a responsible business, we have additional procedures in place after liaising with other funeral homes, trade bodies and many other professional organisations, to ensure we’ve planned and prepared appropriately for the current situation.
What we are doing
As part of our planning, we are considering a range of infection-control options in line with the latest advice given by Public Health England. We are also working with partners, such as local crematoria and burial grounds, to ensure we comply with their COVID-19 procedures.
It goes without saying that if we find ourselves in a position of increased risk to health or are at risk of spreading the coronavirus then we may need to make some hard and possibly, uncomfortable decisions. However, please be assured that we remain committed to caring for you and the people who have passed as best as we possibly can during these difficult and uncertain times.
At this point in time we have decided to do the following:
- Keep our premises as clean and clear as possible, so we will be limiting the number of people who enter. All funeral arrangements, therefore, will take place over the telephone. We will not be able to visit families in their homes or other venues at this time.
- Ask you a series of questions related to coronavirus/COVID-19 and pneumonia, to ensure we are best equipped to safely deal with these circumstances. This will be done before we collect the person who has passed.
- Use remote paperwork signing but please be assured that we will help you through the correct completion of all paperwork.
- Suspend the use of our private chapel until further notice, which sadly means you will not be able to visit the person who has passed.
- Wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE) – even when the risk is deemed to below.
- No longer transport people home before a funeral.
- Not shake hands, this is to protect everyone in our community but we’ll still be warm and friendly.
- Request that we take the coffin into the chapel or venue before all other guests, and no staff member is required to stay in the chapel during the service. We will, however, remain on-hand outside should we be needed.
In the case of coronavirus-related deaths, we may have to arrange a prompt funeral to prevent unnecessary storage and handling of the person who has died.
Our Chatham Office, Kent
In our premises, we have added to our already high standards of infection control by:
- Twice a day, performing a clean-down of all reachable surfaces, door handles, light switches, etc.
- Replacing towels in the public toilet with disposable paper towels.
- Providing a hand sanitising station on entry to the building and asking that all who enter, to sanitise or wash their hands immediately and wear gloves, which we will provide.
Other possible considerations
With regards to other details, we need to make you aware of the following possibilities:
- Collections from home or nursing home: while we still await guidance from the government on appropriate procedures and specific details around protective clothing for funeral directors, we may not be able to collect people who have died from their own home or nursing home – it may be that another appointed team needs to be called. Each situation will be treated individually, however, so please do call and we will advise of the next best steps at the time you call.
- Venues may cancel at short notice – under these circumstances, we will make every effort to replace the ceremony with something meaningful, but it may be necessary to arrange a memorial service or thanksgiving ceremony at a later date. We will be more than happy to help with these arrangements in future if required.
- If the service was due to take place at a venue where live webcasting is available, then this may be a viable option. We will help to ensure this is implemented and in communicating the details to people via our social media pages.
- Service times at crematoria may be altered to cope with increased demand.
- Our Limousine service has been suspended to protect the health of the driver. Families will, therefore, need to make their own way to the funeral service, assuming access is being allowed.
- We may need to bring in additional staff to help with the increased need. Please be assured we will still be operating to the highest standards of care and be assured that there is always at least one permanent staff member in attendance.
- We may have to adapt our working practices to adhere to any new rules that are imposed during this period.
As a family-run business, we pride ourselves on our ability to remain flexible at difficult times – we will continue to be so during these changing circumstances.
We will update this page as soon as anything changes.
Thank you for your patience.
If you have any questions about coronavirus/COVID-19 and funerals, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Button & Family Funeral Services by calling 01634 813989 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org