Solace – Family Led Funerals

WHAT IS A FAMILY LED APPROACH TO HOME FUNERAL?

In a family led approach to Home Funeral the family, friends and/or community of the person who has died remain in control of as much or as little of the decisions and happenings as they are comfortable doing.

This can include everything from the transport and after death care of your person through to all of the associated arrangements, paperwork, funeral decisions and content of and ceremony or service.

You are able to do as much or as little as you wish and you can engage a funeral director who is content to work at the direction of a family in a family led service; assisting only with any of the components you ask them to do.  However, the family remains in full control of the process and their person. 

WHY SHOULD YOU CONSIDER A FAMILY LED APPROACH TO HOME FUNERALS?

Choosing to spend time with a a person who has died and the option of keeping their body at home allows for a home vigil. This is whether the person’s body is kept at home right up until the point of burial or cremation or for a shorter time; even just a few hours spent with your person’s body in a familiar setting can make a huge difference. It provides the opportunity for a gentler approach to ‘letting go’.

This time spent can also allow for the family and community members to gather together, grieve, share stories and memories, comfort each other and if you so choose, plan a farewell.

EMOTIONAL EMPOWERMENT

We have little to no say over when someone will die and those living on are made even more powerless by handing everything to a business. The Family Led approach gives that power back to the family and allows them to be an integral part of the process rather than consigning it to an Industry that will provide a beautiful, professional but often expensive and less-personal service with reduced family involvement.

More Options

A funeral home will let you choose your coffin, but did you know that coffins are not a legal requirement? Family led funerals provide many more options for every aspect of the funeral process, where traditional funeral homes have a limited range of predetermined options.

LOWER COST

Family led funerals typically cost far less than traditional funerals. This is largely because in a family led home funeral you have the opportunity to do much more for yourself; you can pick and choose which of the components you are willing to do and which you would like to have someone do for you.

WHAT'S INVOLVED IN A FAMILY LED HOME FUNERAL?

In a Home Funeral, you are in control with what happens.

There are legislative requirements which govern certain elements of the Home Funeral process, but you will find that you have much more control than you may have with a traditional funeral home experience.

Often, your person will spend time at home with you and this could be for a few hours or a few days.

Home does not necessarily mean your home however. A family led approach to home funeral could mean working with a funeral director who will allow you to go to their premises to wash and dress your person, spending time there, perhaps even placing them in a coffin or wrapping them in a shroud.

If you do chose to be at your home or the home of your person, often taking time after a death, especially in a more gentle and familiar surrounding also allows time for the organisation of the other more practical and legislative requirements and processes.

Often when a Funeral Director is responsible for these arrangements all of this seems rather hurriedly done in a relatively short interview.

With a Home Funeral you can organise a Medical Cause of Death Certificate and register the death with the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, or you can ask a Funeral Director to do it for you. This and the Application for Search (which produces the Record of Death for you) can be completed and lodged at Service Tasmania. 

You will also be required to complete a Burial and Cremation Permit (which may be available to you from the Crematorium or Cemetery Management) and then to make a booking for either Burial or Cremation and eventually transport the body to that place.
Again, you can do this yourself or ask a Funeral Director to do it for you.

With a Family Led Funeral you remain in control of – and responsible for – this entire process, including what components you ask others to do on your behalf.

A FAMILY LED home funeral DOESn'T MEAN YOU'RE ALONE!

If you like the idea of a Family Led Funeral but need some help, we offer an affordable End of Life service where we can be engaged before or after death and we can help you with the practical assistance, emotional support and technical know how to make your choices a reality.

We provide a peaceful presence and are able to guide you through the process of creating your own Family Led Funeral.

Some of the things we can do —
  • Consultation, planning, advocacy and support before death
  • Vigil and compassionate family assistance and support during the dying process
  • Assisting with natural after death care including cooling, washing, dressing
  • Offering ceremony options and organisation
  • Connection with service providers for burial and cremation
  • Help you honour your cultural or spiritual requirements

You can engage us to help you through the whole process or to do any one part of it for you.

Our goal is to leave you with the knowledge of what to do next time – in our perfect world, you’ll only need to engage us once.

HOW MUCH DO FAMILY LED HOME FUNERALS COST?​

Our prices in their individual components and together as packages of services are listed below.

We approach our work with the hope that we can empower and skill families to care for their person. We encourage families, friends and communities to be as involved in the care of their person, the planning and all decision making as much as they are able and content to do so.

All Packages outlined below include our Professional fee component, giving you 24 hour support, the initial consultation and up to three home visits (these visits are not included in the cremation only option). The transport costs included below encompass travel within a 50km radius of Hobart.

We are happy to meet with you for an initial consultation and create a tailored service for you.

Packages

Individual Components

ASK US ABOUT CARDBOARD COFFIN OPTIONS!

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KEEPING A BODY AT HOME

When it comes to keeping your loved one at home, you can wash, dress or wrap, encoffin a person and keep them in your home for several days. In Tasmania there is no prescribed length of time. General consensus in the Home Funeral Movement suggests that depending on the manner of death, 3 days is a reasonable time to keep a body at home without any outward signs of decomposition being present. Indeed, there have been various examples of people keeping their loved ones at home for longer periods without incident.

There is a requirement under Tasmanian Burial and Cremation Regulations 2015 to maintain the temperature of the body at 5 degrees Celsius or lower. This is possible and there are various options available to families to do so. The use of a cooling bed or blanket, a cuddle cot for a child, ice packs, dry ice, damp towels and/or Techniice (an Australian re-usable product) in conjunction with portable air conditioners to assist in keeping room temperature cool are all options available to Tasmanians. If this cool temperature is maintained, then you are not required to place the care of your loved one in the hands of a mortuary or into refrigeration.

Interestingly, in the international community, the body temperature considered to be acceptable to maintain an outwardly suitable presentation is actually much higher, at around 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit)1. In some US States it is stipulated to be lower at 8 degrees Celsius (47-48 degrees Fahrenheit).2

In the UK, where it is not uncommon to have waits of several weeks for Cremations to take place, there have been Home Funerals that have seen the body kept at home (not without the challenge of considerable maintenance, but certainly without incident) for up to two weeks simply using ice packs.3

The World Health Organisation has made it quite clear that there is little risk associated with coming into contact with or looking after a deceased person. “… Furthermore, although some of these diseases are highly contagious, their causative agents are unable to survive long in the human body following death… It is therefore unlikely that such epidemics will result from contact with a cadaver. Indeed, survivors present a much more important reservoir for disease…” – World Health Organisation.4 Dr. Michael Osterholm (Centre for Infectious Disease Policy and Research (CID) goes on to state – “… the mere presence of a dead body without regard to its embalmed status and one that is not leaking blood from an open wound or perforation, does not pose an increased [health] risk of infectious disease transmission for the person who might handle that body or review it in a private setting. Once a human dies, infectious agents that would be of any concern, including those on the individual’s skin or internal organs, is greatly diminished… there simply is no measurable risk of that body transmitting an infectious agent…”5 This is an important point because often we have been lead to believe as a consuming public that dead bodies are dangerous and should therefore be handed over to the professionals for their expert care. This is not in fact the case and that is reflected in the lack of Legislative requirement upon the public to engage the services of a Commercial Funeral Home.

1 The Science Behind Green and Conventional Burial in Lay Terms by the Green Burial Council, prepared by Lee Wesbter with assistance from Carl Anderson, M.S.; Kirsten Bass, MD, PhD; John Meagher, Executive Director, RESET; Lindsay Soyer, licenced FD; Merilynne Rush; and Steven Whitman, M.A., AIC. Published in Changing Landscapes, compiled and edited by Lee Webster. Page 246.

2 The Advantages of Alternative Cooling Techniques by Lee Webster. Published in Changing Landscapes, compiled and edited by Lee Webster. Page 59.

3 The Natural Death Handbook, Fifth Edition, Page 34. Chapter written by Ru Callender, Natural Death Centre Charity UK

4 The Science Behind Green and Conventional Burial in Lay Terms by the Green Burial Council, prepared by Lee Wesbter with assistance from Carl Anderson, M.S.; Kirsten Bass, MD, PhD; John Meagher, Executive Director, RESET; Lindsay Soyer, licenced FD; Merilynne Rush; and Steven Whitman, M.A., AIC. Published in Changing Landsacapes, compiled and edited by Lee Webster. Page 242.

5 The Science Behind Green and Conventional Burial in Lay Terms by the Green Burial Council, prepared by Lee Wesbter with assistance from Carl Anderson, M.S.; Kirsten Bass, MD, PhD; John Meagher, Executive Director, RESET; Lindsay Soyer, licenced FD; Merilynne Rush; and Steven Whitman, M.A., AIC. Published in Changing Landsacapes, compiled and edited by Lee Webster. Page 242.