What is a funeral home?

What is a funeral home?

A funeral home is a place where the dead are prepared for their funeral and cremation and where the body can be viewed by loved ones. It is where you can visit an undertaker to make all the arrangements for the funeral ceremony and where the ashes of the deceased can be delivered following a cremation.

There are many kinds of funeral homes in the UK, some are small family-run  businesses, while others are large corporations that will provide the service no matter what your location.

What services do funeral homes offer?

It is from the funeral home that various activities following the death of a loved one will take place. In days gone by, the body would have been laid out at home in the parlour – hence the more archaic name, funeral parlour – but now the body is removed by the funeral director to the funeral home where family and friends can mourn amidst comfortable surroundings, soothed by music and given plenty of tlc.

Think of the funeral home as a place where the funeral director literally directs everything that needs to happen when someone passes away. 


This will include:

1. Paperwork

Most of the paperwork required for a funeral to take place will be dealt with by the funeral director. For example if there needs to be an application form to purchase a new grave or to re-open an existing plot if the funeral is to be a burial, they will make sure that all the necessary permits have been acquired, as well as taking care of any possible legal issues families need help with. 

2. Coordination of proceedings

Even the most modest funeral takes quite a bit of preparation and the funeral home is where everything is coordinated. The funeral director has the expertise and knowledge to help with every aspect and will guide you through the process. They will help you choose a casket or urn, manage guest lists, produce the order of service, liaise with printers, create memorial videos, ensure video links are sorted out and help in every way they can to ensure the wishes of the deceased and those of loved ones are carried out to their utmost.

3. Preparation of the body

To prepare for burial, the funeral home will usually ask loved ones whether the body is to be embalmed. This is a process whereby the body is sanitised so that it can be temporarily preserved for viewing and services. Preparing the body for viewing can also include reconstruction of features, make up, grooming of hair and nails and clothing of the deceased.

4. Gathering of mourners

The funeral home gives people a place to gather to pay their last respects to the person in their earthly body. It has to be stressed that funeral homes are nor affiliated to any religion or ideology.

5. Obituaries

The funeral home can help you write and publish obituaries for the local newspaper (although this practice has been in decline over the years as fewer people rely on the local press for their information and use the internet to tell people about someone’s passing instead).

6. Taking care of transportation

Funeral home staff are  usually the ones who take care of the transportation  of the body for you. They will take your deceased loved one to the crematorium, church or place of interment. They also organise transport for close family and friends.

How long can a body stay in a funeral home?

There are reasons why a body might have a more prolonged stay at a funeral home and so there are no restrictions on how long a body can be kept.

Some cremations or burials might be held for up to four to six weeks after the death This may be to allow for relatives to travel over to the funeral, or the body may have to be kept at the funeral home if there’s an ongoing criminal investigation. Or it could simply be that planning the funeral, determining the deceased’s person’s final wishes and notifying loved ones has been a more time-consuming process. And let’s face it, not everyone can swing into action and organise a funeral within a matter of days. One thing that might happen at the funeral home if there is a delay in the funeral arrangements is the embalming of the body but this will be something the funeral director will discuss with you.

How do funeral homes prepare the body?

The funeral director will collect the body from the hospital, home or other place of death and take it back to the funeral home. They need the permission of loved ones before this is done of course. It’s quite customary to ask questions at this stage.

Once the deceased is at the funeral home the bathing and disinfecting of the body will take place. This is an essential part of the process for health and hygiene reasons, as changes in the body begin almost immediately once people have died and it is important to ensure staff and loved ones aren’t exposed to dangerous pathogens. It has to be stressed that everything is done with the utmost respect for the person who has passed away.

The next stage may be embalming, if that is something recommended by the funeral director and agreed on by the family.

Embalming is a way of preserving a body that dates back to ancient times, albeit done with different chemicals and more sophisticated equipment in the 21st century. As explained previously, it is often recommended if there is to be a long delay for the funeral, or if mourners want to view the body in an open casket.

The embalming process is something that will be done in the funeral home and it involves replacing blood with preservative chemicals which are injected into the circulatory system.

If there are reasons why embalming isn’t an option then refridgerated is another way of preserving the deceased. This is often a choice of those who want a green burial, or a harvest of organs is involved.

The funeral home will take charge of clothing the deceased in apparel usually chosen by the family. 

Most funeral homes keep a supply of underwear at the funeral home to protect the modesty of the deceased and will always have cosmetics on hand too. If there is a particular shade or brand of lipstick, nail polish, or make up that you want your loved one to wear it would be wise to provide it yourself or inform your funeral director.

The clothing and adornments chosen for the deceased are either personal choice or are dictated by faith. Some religious beliefs will dictate simple garments or particular outfits.


How much does a funeral home cost?


When you use a funeral home you are also paying for many of the services we have outlined above such as transporting the body, preparing the body for burial, buying the coffin and organising the ceremony and costs of funerals start at around £2,000 however they can be cheaper, for example if there is no service. You can also reduce costs by leaving the body in a hospital morgue and having it collected, coffined and brought to the crematorium or cemetery by an undertaker on the day of the funeral.



We understand that when organising a funeral there is a lot of take in, which is why we are always here to help, whether you are planning for the inevitable in the future or have lost a loved one so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at the link below where you’ll find more information and our contact details https://middletonsfuneralservices.co.uk/contact/ 


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