Your COVID-19 Questions Answered

The COVID-19 crisis has brought about so many questions as we all try to stay well and keep others safe.

Like many businesses, the death care industry is adjusting to the changes COVID-19 has brought.

We know you have questions and asked our Funeral Director, Malisa Riceci to answer a few here. We’ll continue to answer questions as we can through social media if you use the hashtag #askSolace.

Q: Is it safe for me to be near my loved one after they pass
Malisa: Experts say being near a person who has passed away due to COVID-19 does not appear to be a danger. However, they do recommend that you not kiss your loved one and try to touch the body as little as possible.

If your loved one does pass at home and you want to clean them with a warm cloth or brush their hair, it is recommended to wear gloves, wash your hands and clothes afterward, and keep anyone at higher risk away from the body.

Q: What kind of precautions are funeral homes taking?
Malisa: Except in rare cases, dead bodies are not infectious and are always treated respectfully, regardless of cause of death. Funeral homes already practice universal precautions, much like health care workers. When bringing someone into our care, we wear gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE) and adhere to safety practices. All funeral homes have been using additional measures to keep employees safe while remaining sensitive to honoring cultural and religious wishes of the families.

Q: How do I have a memorial for my loved one?
Malisa: Many families are struggling now to figure out how to grieve collectively. Some are using digital streaming services and others are using common tools like smartphones and Facebook. Other families may choose to hold a Celebration of Life at a later date. It is a sad part of the crisis that families can’t be together in person for these important rituals, but with creativity and ingenuity, some families are figuring out digital solutions.

Q: My loved one is in hospice and I can’t visit them, what can I do to support them?
Malisa: This is an especially difficult scenario for many people with loved ones in care homes right now. Nothing is going to make up for not being able to be with them, but you do have some options.

If your loved one can be near a window, have the grandkids draw a picture to hold outside or play music in a courtyard. Of course, calling on the phone or with a video conferencing service is the best way to keep in touch during this tough time.

Most importantly, make sure to talk with your loved ones caregivers to formulate a plan for safely coming to the facility when your loved one is close to passing.

A note to our readers: This is a dynamic situation that is changing and evolving all of the time. For the most up-to-date information, visit the CDC website.

Additional resources:

World Health Organization

CDC

Oregon Funeral Resources & Education

Photo by Grace Young

Solace Cremation offers online arrangements for direct cremation services with one flat price and 24-7 customer service. Solace proudly serves the Portland and Seattle metro areas. Learn more.

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