Preparing for a Chapel Visit
23rd September, 2022

Checklist: Before the Chapel Visit

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When visiting the chapel of rest (room of repose) to say their final goodbyes, we want the client/relatives/friends of the deceased person to have a positive experience and to see that their loved one has been cared for to the highest standard possible

Once positioned in the chapel (room), take a moment to step back and observe the deceased person in their coffin. Move around the room and view the deceased person from different angles – just as their loved ones may do.

Take a moment to reflect on the following points:

The Deceased Person

Eyes – are they closed, appear a natural shape, are the eyelashes clear of rheum/massage cream/stay cream etc.

Mouth – is it closed, do they have a natural expression – no ‘pinching’, no suture showing.

Nasal Passages – are they clean and clear, hair trimmed as necessary and with no packing visible.

Facial Hair – have the client instructions been followed? If clean shaven check that there are no areas of missed hair/razor burn.

Hair – have the client instructions been followed? Is it clean and tidy? If requested, is it suitably styled?

Fingernails – are they clean, of level lengths? if they are painted check there are not unintentionally chipped. Have client requests been followed for colour of varnish etc.

Cosmetics – if applied are they natural and blended well? Are the face and hands matching in colour?

Body Position – Have under the arms been supported with suitable material to allow hands to rest naturally on abdomen, is the head raised so you cannot see up the deceased persons nose? Additional support under the shoulders may be necessary – the deceased should assume a very slight gradient from head to foot.

The deceased should always have a pillow, unobscured by the coffin frill where possible.

Are they and the room free from odour? Do they look well-presented and cared for?


Own Clothes:

  • Do they ‘appear’ to fit well (eg. if deceased person has lost weight has the clothing been padded, tucked and pinned to be better presented)
  • Are they free from lint/debris of the preparation process – we know cotton wool can get everywhere!
  • Are the seams of the clothing lying correctly (eg shoulder seam sitting on the shoulder etc)
  • Are cuff-links available? If not, well-placed suture cord can afford the desired cuff alignment.
  • If a shirt is worn, is it free from creases? Particularly on the viewable anterior aspect.

Gown/Funeral Shroud:

  • Does it look correctly placed? 
  • Do the sleeves and body of the gown look as though they are one piece (if they are not)?
  • Is it positioned well around the shoulders and neck area?

The Coffin/Coffin Lid or Casket

  • Free from scuffs, chips or damage
  • Fully polished (including the nameplate – if relevant) check there are no fingerprints/handprints from being handled
  • Coffin plate – details correct and plate on straight
  • No plastic (crem film) visible
  • No wadding (padding) visible
  • Neat corners/coffin lining fitted to the edge
  • Upholstery pins positioned appropriately along frill perimeter.
  • Coffin placed ‘comfortably’ and securely on appropriately clothed (wheel) bier. Ensure the wheels of the bier are tucked inward and not outwardly obvious.

The Eternal Debate

Presented by two qualified and practicing embalmers, Rachel Carline & Andy Floyd, The Eternal Debate Podcast covers the world of Embalming and Mortuary Science as well as other aspects of the funeral profession.
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