Recommended protocols issued in event of Irish coronavirus deaths
The Irish Association of Funeral Directors (IAFD) has issued a number of recommended protocols in the event of arranging a funeral for a Waterford person who dies from the coronavirus (Covid-19).
The IAFD protocols are to ensure that infection does not spread from the deceased or from their close family and friends who may be infected through contact.
"Covid-19 has been categorised by the World Health Organisation as a level 3 contagious disease. It can be contracted through close proximity to the virus holder through breathing infected air particles and from touching infected surfaces," an IAFD briefing to its members reads.
"We have been advised by the Dublin City Coroner that Covid-19 can last for several days after death."
All funeral directors and their staff are expected to follow HSE guidelines on proper hygiene routines. Where possible funeral directors should have alcohol scrub dispensers in their facilities.
IAFD recommended protocols include:
- Relatives of the deceased are not permitted to attend the funeral director’s offices or funeral homes.
- In the event of a Covid-19 death, the Dublin City Coroner has confirmed that there will be no post-mortem examination required, provided the deceased had been previously diagnosed as having contracted the disease. Funeral directors should check with their local coroner to confirm if the same policy applies in their area.
- Clearance will be ascertained in the normal way through the GP or attending hospital doctor. In the event of a suspected Covid-19 death, where the deceased was not diagnosed, then this is notifiable to the local coroner to confirm if the same policy applies in their area.
- Funeral directors and their staff removing the deceased should use all protective personal equipment such as gloves, face masks, gowns, aprons, covering suits and boots.
- The deceased should always be removed from the place of death in a body bag, which is not reopened.
- Removal vehicles should be hygienically cleaned after the removal of remains and all gloves and other disposable equipment should be disposed of safely.
- Where possible the deceased should be removed to a designated area within the funeral director's facilities or those of an out-sourced provider, for example, an isolated cold room.
- The deceased should not be embalmed.
- The deceased should be placed in the selected coffin and the coffin closed.
- Public gatherings such as church services, at funeral homes, residences and crematorium chapels should not take place.
- The deceased should be brought straight to the crematorium or cemetery for committal.
- The family should be advised that they may have a memorial service at a later date.
- Transport for families should not be provided.