As the weeks pass by under our “new normal”, OGR members continue to share with one another best practices, questions and support. During OGR’s weekly online round table, members discuss challenges and relevant tips for handling the coronavirus. A summary of last week’s discussion is below.
- Some hospices are sending patients home to die so that they can be surrounded by family. Home removals may create additional safety hazards for funeral directors as many hospice nurses don’t place bodies in body bags like hospitals do. Removal staff from the funeral home are taking extra precautions to sanitize and wrap the body, especially the face, to avoid contamination.
- Cemeteries are setting different requirements in each area, so keeping families in compliance can be difficult. This is especially true in rural areas where cemeteries are located on private property. Funeral directors are doing the best to follow the law.
- Most funeral directors on the call have filled out the paperwork for the Paycheck Protection Program and are still not funded. With funds running out, some have been informed that they may have to wait until the next round of congressional funding to get the funds from the PPP loan.
Positive Changes that Have Occurred
- Safety protocols require that only one or two immediate family members can go to the funeral home to make arrangements. This has limited the confusion and conflict that may arise when 15 people are involved.
- Web streaming services has allowed more people to “attend” funerals than normally would due to distance, scheduling conflict, etc. Now that many funeral homes have this in place, they will most likely continue to offer these services to families long after the pandemic has ended.
- With community organizations meeting virtually, online meetings are shorter and more focused. Funeral directors have noted they have extra hours in their day to focus on other activities, especially if they’re not in one of the “hot spots”.
Be sure to check out the COVID-19 page on the OGR website: www.ogr.org/covid19
OGR’s next round table will be held Thursday, April 16 at 3:00 PM EDT. This discussion is open to OGR members only. Learn more and register at www.ogr.org/covid19#Virtual. If you’ve already signed up, no need to register again. It’s the same link each week.
By Nancy Weil
OGR Member Resources Director