What Do Funeral Homes Do? Here is the Surprising Truth.

Have you ever asked yourself, “Just what do funeral homes do?” Even if you haven’t asked, maybe you should. Why? Because most people who think they know are usually only partly right. Let’s start with the common perception first:

The Physical Aspects

The first thing that comes to mind about what funeral homes do – or more specifically, what funeral directors and their staff do – involves caring for the body of the deceased. Indeed, many people think only about the physical services we provide, beginning with coordinating with families, coroners and medical or caregiver staff to bring the body into the funeral home. Once in the funeral facility, the body will be prepared in keeping with the wishes of the family. If the deceased will be presented in an open casket for viewing at a calling or memorial service, the body will need to be embalmed . That involves not only washing and the embalming process, but also performing restorative arts, which can be especially important if the deceased was physically injured before or at the time of death. Further preparation for viewing typically involves application of natural-look cosmetics, hairdressing, dressing the body in clothing usually provided by the family, and then placing the body in the casket.

Coordination and Communication

Preparing the body is often the first (and sometimes the only) piece of the picture that comes to mind when answering the question, “What do funeral homes do?” Of course, that’s only a small part of our funeral home services for families. We also meet with next of kin and family members to coordinate many aspects related to the passing, to the memorial service, to the burial or cremation, and more. A big part of our services involves helping the family select funeral-related products and services that will appropriately honor their loved one.

We also coordinate with outside parties as necessary. This might involve gaining information for the death certificate, coordinating permits or authorizations at the local level; or assisting with questions regarding the Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration or other agencies. Of course, we also assist in preparing the obituary, which we then submit to news media as requested.

We’ll also act as a liaison with others who will be involved in the memorial service, from clergy to florists to officiants to musicians to military representatives or members of fraternal organizations. For the service, we’ll prepare the guest register book, memorial folders, and create a tribute DVD as requested. We’ll work with the family to coordinate any special photo displays, ceremonies or other personalized aspects of the service. Naturally, we also work hand in hand with cemeteries, crematories and monument providers as needed.

Providing Compassionate Care, Comfort and Peace of Mind

Probably the most overlooked service aspect is the provision of empathy and compassionate care to the family and mourners. At Stillinger Family Funeral Home, we are often among the first to encounter the family shortly after the death; so the compassion we share provides a welcome transition into the process of saying goodbye. We recognize the emotional weight of losing a loved one, and we make ourselves available to honor that process and make families feel cared for. In fact, our entire funeral experience is focused on creating unique and special life tributes and treating each customer like a member of our own family.

So, what do funeral homes do? From caring for the body to coordinating services to providing emotional support for family and friends, funeral home professionals like those of us at Stillinger Family Funeral Home do more than you think, but all that you need. To learn more, or to pre-plan or plan a funeral, contact us today at (317) 462-5536.

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