Special Considerations
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Special Considerations

Death Away from Home

When a death happens away from home, it adds additional stress to already emotional circumstances. It can be difficult to know what to do next. Rest assured, your funeral director can guide you through the process.

If you are notified of a death that occurred out of the state or country, be sure to contact your local funeral home immediately and coordinate care and transport through them. Calling an establishment at the location of death first and then involving your local funeral home may result in added fees and costs.

Transporting Remains

A variety of circumstances, including a death away from home or a need to move remains from one place to another, can require someone to transport either casketed or cremated remains across the country or the world. Your funeral director can assist you in ensuring your loved ones remains are transported with care and on time to the location where services and final disposition will occur.

Organ and Tissue Donation

Even in death, your loved one can help others live through the gift of organ and tissue donation. The need is great. Nationally, more than 18,000 people are on the list for an organ transplant, and approximately 20 people die every day waiting. The possible impact is enormous. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and one tissue donor can impact the lives of 50 or more.

Funeral home directors work closely with the nation’s organ procurement organizations (OPOs) to carry out this lifesaving mission. Here are facts to address families’ most commonly asked questions about organ and tissue donation:

  • When a loved one dies, the hospital or healthcare facility will report the death to an OPO which determines if he or she is eligible for organ and tissue donation. If determined eligible, the OPO will contact your family to discuss the options.
  • If your loved one has not already registered as a donor, the OPO will ask if you would like to consider donation.
  • Your loved one can still be embalmed after donation and, in most cases, donation does not interfere with an open-casket viewing.
  • All major religions support organ and tissue donation. Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish faiths view it as an act of human benevolence in line with religious doctrine. Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam believe that donation is a matter of individual conscience.
  • The OPO cares for your loved one with the utmost respect during the organ and tissue recovery process. While the recovery is taking place, your funeral director will work with you to finalize arrangements for when your loved one is released to the funeral home.
  • Due to the surgical nature of the procedure, organ and tissue recovery can cause a delay in your loved one being released to the funeral home. Most families find that this short delay is outweighed by the peace they realize knowing that their loved one saved the lives of others.

For more information, visit Donate Life America at https://www.donatelife.net/

Legacy of Life

You now have the option to honor your loved one’s decision to be an organ and tissue donor by including the Donate Life logo in his or her obituary. To learn more, please speak with your local funeral home director.

Implant Recycling

Over time, many of us tend to accumulate “replacement parts” such as new hips, knees, pins, and dental work. Since these materials withstand the high heat of cremation, they survive the cremation process. As they are bulky, metal, and not able to be processed into unidentifiable remains, historically these metal implants have been buried in cemeteries, or discarded as medical waste.

Many families many not be aware that with advances in technology, much of the valuable materials and metals remaining after cremation can be recovered. These “manmade” materials are separated from a loved one’s remains, so that only the cremated remains are returned to authorized survivors, and the residual metals from implants are then able to be recycled in an environmentally sound manner.

If cremation is chosen, your funeral director will ask if there are any implanted medical devices, such as a pacemaker, prior to cremation occurring. The reason for this is normal pacemakers contain batteries, which explode when exposed to very high temperatures. For safety, pacemakers are explanted (removed) prior to the cremation.

You do not need to go at this alone. While no one has exactly the same story, pain, or feelings that you have, there are so many people going through this experience right now. Support from others who understand can help you better understand your grief, troubleshoot things you are struggling with, as well as learn from and help others.

Start with your local funeral director, who may be able to connect you with grief resources in your community or provide you with books and other literature to read, regardless of where you are on your grief journey.

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