As a result of the ongoing, developing situation with the global Covid-19 ("Coronavirus") pandemic, the Directors of Eaves Funeral Service Ltd. have taken the tough decision to implement changes to operating procedures, in line with Government and Trade Organisation advice. These changes take immediate effect and are applicable to all funeral services.
The most important things to remember are:
The dignity of deceased persons is paramount and will be upheld at all times
Although means of contact will change, our service and dedication to our clients will remain as normal as possible
All measures introduced are for the benefit of protecting the most vulnerable people in our community, in order to ease pressure on our NHS.
We must be particularly mindful of the fact that, ordinarily, we come in to contact with a large number of people who are in the 'at-risk' groups - elderly and some with illnesses. As well as this, our frequent contact with care and nursing homes and hospitals is considered.
Below, we have outlined the changes we will make and those that are enforced by individuals and venues with whom we liaise in order to carry out funerals and have placed these in the following categories:
Health & Well-being All measures, whether introduced by HM Government, Trade Organisations, local authorities or by individual business or groups, are primarily to protect the most vulnerable in our communities from the virus. We care deeply about our community, so it is essential that we, along with everyone else, play our part in following all guidance to do so. As a responsible, caring profession, we take this very seriously and have pledged to comply with all measures.
Of equal consideration is the health and well-being of our staff. Our business, as with many other Funeral Directors, consists of a small number of staff. It is essential that we remain fit and healthy in order to operate and provide care for those who have died and their families. This extends too, to the staff of local authorities (Crematorium, Cemetery) and to our clergy and celebrants. Unfortunately it only takes one person to be required to isolate, either through illness or through caution, to have a ripple effect on others.
All of the Funeral Directors we have spoken to have agreed to assist one another should any be affected by staff shortages.
Operating procedures In line with all advice received, the following changes to our operations have been agreed and implemented:
All non-essential contact is stopped - This is a particularly tough decision to make. Our business is very community-based and our personal meetings with our clients are an important part of our service. However, in order to act responsibly and within guidance, we must now refrain from personal visits whenever possible, regardless of the current health of individuals involved. Contact with our clients will primarily take place by telephone, email, video calls etc. Where no other option exists and where only absolutely necessary, a visit may take place, and if so, this shall be limited by both time and the number of persons present. All other Funeral Directors we have spoken to are adopting the same procedure.
Removal of deceased persons in to our care - Where a death occurs in hospital, usual operating procedures apply unless we are advised otherwise. Where a death occurs in a nursing/care home, we will be guided by the individual establishment on their own procedures, but this is expected to be as usual, although with absolute minimum contact with staff and family members, if present. When a death occurs at a home address, clients will be advised that the removal will take place as normal but contact with minimal / no contact with clients at that time. We will determine before attending if any person present is experiencing symptoms, is serving a period of isolation or is in a vulnerable group. In all circumstances, PPE will be worn if determined as necessary.
Funeral plans - We will continue to offer pre-paid funeral plans. We have enabled the facility to take and process any applications over the telephone and via our online portal. No personal meetings will take place.
Cleanliness - Given the nature of our business, cleanliness and hygiene have always been a priority area, however we have provided further facilities for hand washing and sanitization. Our office, public facilities and vehicles are undergoing extra deep cleaning to minimize any risks.
Visits to our premises - We envisage no change to the current procedure for paying respects at our funeral parlour, perhaps except a restriction on the number of people who attend per appointment. We now ask that any other visits to our office are only when absolutely necessary and also by appointment.
Payments - We ask that wherever possible, any payments be made by bank transfer or by card over the telephone, to reduce the number of personal contacts.
Donations - Whenever possible, we ask that charitable donations be made online to our designated donation account. To submit a donation, please send a transfer to Sort code: 01-09-54, Account number: 60810602, including the deceased's full name as reference.
All office-based staff will work from home as much as is practicable.
Hand shaking - Our staff now refrain from shaking hands. Please do not be offended if we politely decline a handshake.
Enforced changes This is an ever-changing situation and we are currently compiling information received from venues and professionals involved in delivering funerals. From information received, the following are the most common changes. Please be aware that these may change at any time as new advice and guidance is received - we endeavour to update this page as often as possible to reflect any new changes.
Clergy / celebrants will offer telephone / email / video call consultations. No face-to-face meetings.
Services in Churches - There are currently no funeral services in Church. The funeral service should take place at the graveside or at a crematorium, subject to the conditions laid down by the cemetery or crematorium authorities
Services in Crematoria - Distington Hall Crematorium and Carlisle Crematorium have issued the following advice:
We will not meet and greet relatives and friends before or after a funeral service.
To reduce the potential spread of the virus we recommend that numbers attending funerals be reduced. (12 max at Carlisle, similar encouraged at Distington).
All hymn books will be removed from our Chapels avoiding the possibility of cross contamination.
Please leave at least one seat between yourself and others also it is recommended that alternate rows of seats be used.
Please remove any tissues or other personal belongings when leaving the Chapel.
If you feel unwell, please do not attend the service.
Reception venues - All now closed.
In the case of confirmed Coronavirus-related death, we may have to arrange a prompt funeral to prevent unnecessary storage and handling of the deceased.
Other measures are now in force to ease systems should there be an increased number of deaths, in terms of who can register a death and statutory paperwork.
Please be assured that certain plans have been in place for some time to cope with situations where there are excess deaths and that whatever happens, everyone who can will work together to assist those affected wherever possible.
Our current clients have been exceptionally understanding. We thank all our clients for your help and co-operation at this very difficult time.