Table of Contents

Table of Contents – PDF Version

  • What Others Say About This Book iv
  • Dedication vii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgements xxiii

CHAPTER 1: The First Call – Initial Notification 1

  • Case Example – The first-call without communication 1
  • Best Practice for Handling First-Calls Professionally and Effectively 2
  • Basic Information on a First-Call Form 5
  • Documenting Special Requests 7
  • Some Things You Need to Achieve During the First-Call 9
  • Some Things to Avoid During the First-Call: 9
  • Using an Outside or Third-Party Transfer Company 9
  • Using an Answering Service 10
  • Case Example – A good laugh and an unexpected party 14

CHAPTER 2: Transfer and Identification of the Decedent 15

  • Basic Responsibilities 15
  • Documenting the Transfer 17
  • Case Example: Sloppy Procedures Leads to Mix-Up 18
  • Best Practice Guidelines for Transfers 19
  • Learning from Hospitals 23
  • Universal Identification System – A System to Consider 23
  • Case Example: A Transfer Done Incorrectly 24
  • Case Example: A Transfer Done Right 25
  • Outside and Third-Party Companies 26
  • Deaths Involving Hospice 27
  • Transfer and Decedent Receipt 28

CHAPTER 3: Arrival of Deceased at the Funeral Home 31

  • Case Example: Unhelpful Attendant Leads to Six-Figure Verdict 32
  • Steps to Take Upon Arrival 34

CHAPTER 4: The Arrangement Conference 36

  • Why the arrangement conference must be professionally conducted 36
  • The value of sharing an agenda 39
  • Best Practice in determining the person(s) with authority 41
  • Power of Attorney 43
  • What is a Power of Attorney? 44
  • Case Example: What would you do? 45
  • Common Law relationships 47
  • Case Example: Multiple spouse scenario 48
  • When the next of kin is unavailable or hospitalized 49
  • Fax authorizations 52
  • Indemnity agreement 52
  • Being alert to family dynamics 53
  • Dealing with perfectionists 54
  • Case Example: The client unable to be satisfied 54
  • Reaching Informed Consent 55
  • Ascertaining how much information is considered adequate? 57
  • The General Price List 59
  • Use of forms 60

CHAPTER 5: Verifying Identity of a Deceased Person 67

  • Means of Verifying Identity 68
  • Viewing – A Way to Assure Other Family Members 69
  • Case Example: Same Last Names 70
  • Policy Contents for Verifying Identity 71
  • Identification of Decomposed or Other Difficult Cases 72
  • Identification is primary Viewing is secondary 73
  • Case Example – A Father’s Need to Know 74
  • Using a Waiver Instead of Viewing the Person’s Body 75
  • Verification by Photograph 76
  • Other Means of Verification 77

CHAPTER 6: Care and Preparation of a Deceased Person 79

  • Informing the Family and Receiving Authorization 80
  • Case Example: The Coroner Advises Embalming 81
  • Opening Discussions with a Client Family 81
  • Case Example: Getting Started on the “Right Foot” 82
  • Custody Factor 83
  • Sheltering Guidelines 85
  • Embalming-Care Report 87
  • Contents of an Embalming-Care Report 89
  • Minimum Care when there is No Embalming 91
  • Viewing when the Deceased Person is Not Embalmed 92
  • Case Example – The Concerned Nurse 93
  • Case Example: A Hard Lesson 95
  • Embalming 96
  • Communicating with the Client Family 98
  • Using an Off-Premises Refrigeration-Embalming Facility 100
  • Performing Due Diligence of the Off-Premises Facility 101
  • Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule and Embalming 102

CHAPTER 7: Visitation – Wake – Funeral Ceremony 104

  • Case Example – Unfulfilled Promises 105
  • Educating the Staff and the First Viewing 106
  • Case Example – The Ignored Family 107
  • Case Example – Disbelieving Wife 108
  • The Funeral Ceremony 109
  • Case Example: A scary funeral 110
  • Case Example – Leaky casket 112
  • Handling Personal Property during the Visitation and Funeral Ceremony 113
  • Describing Personal Property 115
  • Disposition of Personal Property 115
  • Is the Funeral Director Always Responsible for Personal Property? 116
  • Case Example – The Missing Gold Watch 117
  • Removing Personal Property 119
  • Handling Personal Property for Shipment 120
  • The Procession to the Place of Disposition 120
  • Case Example – The Large Procession 127

CHAPTER 8: Disposition by Earth Burial and Entombment 128

  • How to Set Appropriate Boundaries 132
  • What is a Funeral Director’s Role at a Cemetery? 133
  • Responsibilities at a Cemetery 134
  • Case Example: The Funeral by Invitation Only 136
  • When is the Funeral Director Relieved of Responsibility? 137
  • Case Example: Funeral Director or Bystander? 137
  • Receipt for Deceased from Cemetery 140
  • Is a Burial Permit the Same as a Receipt? 141
  • Disinterment 142
  • Guidelines for the Disinterment Process 143
  • Cemetery Inspections and Funeral Home – Cemetery Relations 145
  • Case Example – Arlington National Cemetery’s high standards 148

CHAPTER 9: Shipment of a Deceased Person 151

  • What is a Shipping Service? 152
  • Methods of Shipping Deceased Persons 154
  • Classifications of Shipment 154
  • Areas for Concern 154
  • Foreign Consulate Offices 155
  • Basic Requirements for International Shipment 157
  • Receiving a Deceased Person from a Foreign Country 158
  • Dealing With the Client Family 160
  • Case Example: Unexpected Snowstorm 161
  • Disclosures on an “Authorization for Shipment” Form 163
  • Type of Shipping Containers 164
  • Viewing Prior to Shipment 167
  • Preparation of the Deceased for Shipment 168
  • Documenting Care to the Deceased 169
  • Case Example: Left Alone at the Airport 173
  • Local shipment or transfer of remains 174
  • Shipment of cremated remains 175
  • Best Practice Guidelines for Receiving Cremated Remains at the Funeral Home from the Crematory 176
  • Case Example: An Unexpected Trip to Hawaii 178
  • Shipping Cremated Remains 180
  • International Shipment of Cremated Remains 181
  • Carry-On Cremated Remains and TSA Requirements 182
  • TSA Cremated Remains Container Requirements 183
  • Proportioning Cremated Remains 184

CHAPTER 10: Outside Service Providers Duty of Care and Negligence 186

  • Classification of Workers: Contractor or Employee? 188
  • Examining the “Special Relationship” Factor 191
  • Case Example: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You 192
  • Due Care – Negligence 193
  • What is the Reasonable Person Concept? 194
  • Being Familiar with Outside Contractors 196
  • Qualifying Independent Contractors 196
  • Case Example – The Unprepared Funeral Director 198
  • Liability insurance coverage 200
  • Off-Premises Facilities 203
  • Transferring a Deceased Person to an Off-Premises Facility 204
  • Inspecting off-premises facilities 205

CHAPTER 11: Cremating a Person’s Remains 207

  • Cremation from the Funeral Director’s Point of View 207
  • Case Example: “Poof” 209
  • Outside crematory agreement 211
  • Authority to Cremate 213
  • Faxed Authorizations or Authorizations at a Distance 215
  • Case Example: Favorite Son and Disowned Daughters 216
  • Funeral Director’s Ace-in-the-Hole 217
  • Cremation Authorization Form 219
  • Formatting the Cremation Authorization Form 221
  • Disclosures to Contain in the Cremation Authorization Form 222
  • Explaining the Cremation Process 227
  • Identification and Cremating the Right Person 229
  • Attaching the cremation tag 231
  • Removal of Medical Devices and Property 232
  • Removal of Body Piercing 233
  • Final Verification at Funeral Home 233
  • Best Practice when Transporting to the Crematory 234
  • Receiving Cremated Remains from the Crematory 235
  • CREMATING THE PERSON’S BODY 237
  • Best Practice for Accepting and Storage of the Deceased at the Crematory 237
  • Receipt for decedent 240
  • Opening Containers at the Crematory 241
  • Maintaining Identification at the Crematory 242
  • Cremation Log Book 242
  • Performing the Cremation 244
  • Removing the Person’s Cremated Remains from the Chamber 245
  • Processing Cremated Remains 246
  • Case Example – The Toothless Client 248
  • Placement into the Urn-Vessel and Minimum Container Requirements 249
  • Biodegradable Urns 250
  • Labeling the Urn-Vessel 251
  • Storage of Cremated Remains at the Crematory 251
  • Releasing Cremated Remains 253
  • Case Example: Wrongful Release 254
  • Disposition of Cremated Remains 255
  • Cremated Remains Disposers 258
  • Case Example – The Un-Scattered Cremated Remains 258
  • Commingling of Cremated Remains 259
  • Infant Cremation 261

CHAPTER 12: Using an Outside Crematory and Crematory Inspections 263

  • Disclosures and due diligence 265
  • Due Diligence 265
  • Reasons funeral directors hesitate in performing inspections 268
  • Case Example: Close encounter of the wrong kind 269
  • Defining an inspection 274
  • Key attributes in conducting a crematory inspection 276
  • Performing a crematory inspection 278
  • Two types of inspections 279
  • Formal-comprehensive inspections 280
  • Crematory checklist 280
  • Further suggestions during inspections 283
  • Cremation log book 283

CHAPTER 13: Unclaimed Cremated Remains 285

  • Nationwide Dilemma 286
  • The Responsibility Factor 288
  • Liability Factor 289
  • Why People Fail to Retrieve a Person’s Cremated Remains 290
  • How to Prevent Abandoned-Unclaimed Cremated Remains 293
  • Financial Incentives 295
  • Safeguards When Storing Cremated Remains 296
  • Disposition of Unclaimed Cremated Remains 299
  • Contacting Family Members 300
  • Case Example: A Claim after 20 Years 302
  • Placement in a Grave or Crypt 303

CHAPTER 14: Risk Assessment and Insurance 306

  • Purpose of Insurance 308
  • The Need for Risk Assessment 309
  • When Should a Risk Assessment be done? 311
  • Involving Employees in the Assessment Process 312
  • How to Conduct a Risk Assessment 313
  • History of Insurance 315
  • Choosing an Insurance Company 317
  • Professional Liability Insurance/ Errors-and-Omissions 322
  • What is Professional Negligence? 323
  • The Need for Professional Liability/ Errors-and-Omissions Insurance 323
  • How Much Coverage is Necessary? 327
  • Assessing How Much Professional Liability Insurance is Needed 329
  • Stand-alone Policy 331
  • Commercial (comprehensive) General Liability Insurance 331
  • Umbrella Liability Insurance – Best Practice Recommendation 333
  • Products Liability Insurance 334
  • Employment Practices Insurance 335
  • Commercial Crime Insurance-Fidelity Bonds 335
  • Dealing with Personal Property 335
  • Choosing an Insurance Company and Agent 336

CHAPTER 15: When You Are Sued 340

  • Handling Complaints to Reduce Lawsuits 341
  • Case Example: A Disturbing Disinterment – Tell or Not Tell? 342
  • Three-Step Approach to Resolving Complaints 344
  • Best Practice to Reduce Lawsuits 346
  • How a Lawsuit Develops 348
  • Steps in a Lawsuit 350
  • Types of Legal Cases 351
  • Early Stages of a Lawsuit 352
  • Middle Stages of a Lawsuit 354
  • Last Stages of a Lawsuit 361
  • Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)-Other Ways to Decide Disputes 366
  • Steps You MUST Take If You Are Sued 368
  • Things You Should NEVER Do When You Are Sued 373
  • Basic Courtroom Behavior 374
  • Choosing an Attorney 376
  • Prevention: Your Best Strategy 378
  • General Questions Concerning Lawsuits 379
  • Authors’ Biographies 384
  • Appendix 1: Emotional Distress 386
  • Appendix 2: Professionalism 406
  • Bibliography 415
  • Resources 420
  • Sample Forms 425