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News and Resources - CarerHelp

CarerHelp Insights: The role of funeral directors and how to choose one

  • 26 August 2020
  • Author: CarerHelp
  • Number of views: 372
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CarerHelp Insights: The role of funeral directors and how to choose one

My name is Rennie Neasey-O’Connell, and I have been a Funeral Director for some 25 years. Funeral work has been my passion for most of my working life. I am a Funeral Celebrant as well, and have started my own funeral company, in North West Tasmania, operating as Parkside Funerals, for most of those 25 years. We conduct nearly 300 funerals per annum, and have a staff of some 12-13 people, who I have trained to be wonderful funeral staff.

Funeral work is incredibly wonderful, rewarding work, and holds a very special place in our lives as we deal with people who are fragile, courageous, and wonderful. Their stories touch us, and we hope that our kindness toward them, touches their lives as well.

The role of the Funeral Director within the funeral process should not be underestimated. We are invited into people’s lives when they are in great pain: after the loss of someone. The death may be as a result of prolonged illness, with the dying trajectory taking some months or years, or suddenly with little or no warning. 

For those families where long-term illness precipitates death, those who are carers will often be extremely exhausted physically and mentally, and may be unprepared for the multitude of decisions and arrangements that need to be made.

 It should be realised that the funeral director that is chosen, may have an enormous impact on a family’s long-term emotional health, and will affect the way in which they grieve. Just ask someone who has experienced a funeral director who has not done their job well!

" Choose a funeral director the same way as you would choose your family doctor. Look for someone who is understanding, courteous, prompt, efficient, and qualified. "

Investigating options available before making choices, is often a wise idea. We make better decisions when we are not as emotionally distressed. And meeting representatives of the funeral company you have chosen, is often very reassuring, so that when death occurs, there are some familiar faces to deal with. Ideally, those staff members should accompany the family through each step of the funeral process from the pre-arranged funeral information, the funeral process, including being present for families who wish to be part of the preparation of the deceased person, the viewing, the funeral, and memorialisation (choosing headstones, placing of ashes, etc). There are many interactions with the family. Many people do not have any idea of what information a funeral director will require for the registering of a death, and finding that information out prior is of great assistance.

A funeral director should be selected in much the same way you would choose your family doctor. Look for someone who is understanding, courteous, prompt, efficient, and qualified. Your funeral director needs to be of a good reputation (both with the bereaved families they serve as well as in the business community). They need to be available to you at any hour of the day, and give excellent service for the fee charged.

" A funeral director needs to have an in-depth knowledge of differing denominational and religious, and non-religious beliefs pertaining to the death process and the funeral rite. "

And of course a funeral director needs to have an in-depth knowledge of differing denominational and religious, and non-religious beliefs pertaining to the death process and the funeral rite.

It is important that a funeral director knows the legal responsibilities of the coronial process, and be able to liaise with the Office of the Coroner, should the Coroner be involved in investigating a death.

Funeral directors who excel at making people feel comfortable and relaxed at a time when there are many additional stresses and pressures, who provide gentle, compassionate care are so important.

This is why many families form a long term connection with a funeral company.

" Meet representatives from the funeral company you have chosen so that when death occurs, there are some familiar faces to deal with. "

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