Deceased person with toe-tag
23rd September, 2022

Receiving a Deceased into Care

Main Image: Rich Legg

It is vitally important that we treat our deceased with care and dignity from their arrival

Upon arrival and entry into the Funeral Home or Care Facility an accurate recording must be made (either written or electronically) of the deceased person who you are bringing into care, along with all their personal belongings. If there is any instruction for the belongings known (for example – 1 x yellow metal wedding ring to be returned to the client), this should also be recorded.

An identity wrist tag and ankle tag (or other form of appropriate identification marker) must be completed and placed upon each deceased person. The deceased person should be transferred from the stretcher onto a suitable, clean (disinfected) mortuary tray, utilising any access you have to manual handling equipment (such as an all-purpose patient transfer slide or secure body hoist) to ensure your personal safety is protected, as well as maintaining dignified handling of the deceased person.

Unwrap and remove hospital/transfer sheets and place these into the clinical waste. Undress the deceased person, disposable hospital mortuary gowns can be placed into clinical waste. Personal clothing/nightwear should be removed and placed into a belongings pouch, clearly labelled with the deceased persons name and any other identifying information relevant for your employer. Any heavily soiled items should be placed into durable plastic pouches pending instruction to dispose of as clinical waste.

When undressing the deceased person, it is imperative that their dignity is always maintained, utilise a modesty cloth to cover the genitalia and sensitive areas. Ensure that the deceased person is clean, including the eyes and inside the nose and mouth, at this stage if there are any areas of concern (for example desquamation of an area of skin, dehydration of the mucous membranes etc) notify a suitably qualified person (e.g. an embalmer) who can advise the best course of early action in correctly caring for the deceased.

Once clean, ensure the deceased person is suitably covered (clean modesty cloth/sanitary wear, disposable shroud or a clean transfer sheet) and is suitably positioned on the mortuary tray either in the supine position with palms down or with the arms elevated to allow for them to rest on the deceased persons abdomen. The deceased persons head should be resting on a suitably positioned and clean headblock – ensuring the head is raised above chest level and is central, not tilted to either side.

A suitable barrier/massage cream should be applied to areas of the deceased persons face which may dehydrate in the refrigerated environment, particular care should be taken to cover and protect the mucous membranes of the eyes and mouth. Another clean disposable sheet should be placed over the entire deceased persons body before the mortuary tray is placed into the suitable refrigerated environment. All deceased held in the care of the Funeral Home or Care Facility should be accommodated for in suitable refrigerated spaces.

Each deceased person must be stored appropriately and in a way that considers the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance – Managing Infection Risks when Handling the Deceased: Guidance for the mortuary, post-mortem room and funeral premises, and during exhumation.

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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