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Independent Funeral Directors
Serving Dorset for over 100 years

Losing someone you love is always devastating. At this moment in time, it is even more difficult. With the COVID-19 virus regulations changing funerals, it makes saying goodbye harder. If you’re reading this because someone close to you has died, we’re so sorry for your loss. Douch Family Funeral Directors has served your community for over 11 decades and we stand ready to help you now. During this time of uncertainty, we will remain open and our experienced, caring staff will continue assisting families during this critical time. We have put together this guide to help you through these unsettling times where feelings of grief and anxiety are amplified. We hope these guidelines will make the next few weeks a little easier for you.

What should I do if someone has died at home?
How do I register the death?
Can I still have a funeral?
How do I make funeral arrangements?
Can anyone attend the funeral?
Will there be social distancing measures at the service?
Can I visit my loved one at the funeral home?
Where can we hold the service?
What can we do if we can’t attend the service?
Are you able to provide us with a limousine to get to the funeral?
Can I still hold a wake at my home?
What if I can’t afford the funeral?
If you receive money from the deceased’s estate

What should I do if someone has died at home?

Even if it was expected, a death at home can be very upsetting.

It’s perfectly ok to take a moment to yourself before you do anything else.

If the death was expected, call their GP or 111 to get through to the nearest surgery. If the death was unexpected or sudden, call 999 and explain the situation. 

Remember: if the person who died had coronavirus symptoms, or if anyone else in the household has them, it’s important to mention it. Help will come to your home as soon as possible. Please get in contact with your chosen branch so one of our funeral directors can help you. Our phones are open 24/7, 7days a week. It is vital you let our staff know if the death may be related to coronavirus.

How do I register the death?

The way you register the death has changed and has perhaps become easier. You will need to register the death with local registrar office to where the person died, within five days. Registration now takes place over the phone or online, with forms being completed digitally, and copies of the death certificate being sent in the post. If needed, your funeral director can do this for you. The doctor who attended your loved one before they died would normally sign the medical certificate of cause of death; however, during the current emergency, any registered medical practitioner, without having personally attended the deceased, provided they are sufficiently able from the available information, can issue the medical cause of death certificate.

We have created a document with the questions the registrar will ask you, you can find the document here. Below is an example of the simple process for registering the death. Our phone lines are available 24 hrs,7 days a week. If you need any help with this process do not hesitate to give a call and we will be happy to assist you.

  1. The medical certificate of cause of death is sent to the registrar office. The hospital or GP clinic may email it over to them for you.
  2. Staff at the register office will contact you to organise a time to call you to register the death. This might take half an hour or so.
  3. After the call, the death certificate will be posted to you.
  4. The green form for burial or cremation will be emailed & posted to your funeral director, and we’ll sort it from there.

Can I still have a funeral?

Funerals are still going ahead. New guidelines have been brought in and this has changed the way funerals are normally carried out. We understand that the new funeral guidelines are difficult, but they are there to keep you and your family safe.

How do I make funeral arrangements? 

To help maintain social distancing, we are happy to discuss all the arrangements over the phone, video conference or via email. If you and the rest of your household are all well, and the death was unrelated to coronavirus, you are still able to come into the office for a meeting. Social distancing of 2m will still take place and we will ask you to sanitise your hands when entering and leaving the building. Hand sanitiser and facilities for handwashing will be available on-site. We promise you will still get the same thoughtful service regardless.

Can anyone attend the funeral?

Our local crematoria and cemeteries are following the strict guidelines set by the government. BCP and Dorset council have implemented strict control measures in order to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID- 19). Here are the basics:

  • No more than 10 people are to attend the funeral. This is to make sure that people can stay 2 metres apart at all times.
  • Attendance should be restricted to immediate family members to:
    • Spouse/Partner
    • Parents/Carers
    • Brothers/Sisters
    • Children (and partners)

(Close friends can come if there are no family)

  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have had contact with someone who has been infected, you must stay home. This includes contact with the person who has died, if they died due to the coronavirus.
  • If you are in a vulnerable or extremely vulnerable group, you must stay home. This includes people who are pregnant or over 70.

We know it can be incredibly difficult not to be there to say goodbye. If you are not allowed to go to the funeral, we have alternative solutions set up, for example, live streaming services. There is more information about this below.

Will there be social distancing measures at the service?

Yes: at the service, and while you’re travelling to and from the service. This means that you will need to:

  • Travel to and from the service with people from your household, no one else.
  • Mourners at crematoria are being asked to remain in their cars until the funeral begins because the waiting rooms are closed.
  • Stand 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with at the service.
  • Avoid touching (hugging, shaking hands with) anyone you don’t live with.
  • Wash your hands frequently using the hand sanitizer or the handwashing facilities provided.

 

Can I visit my loved one at the funeral home?

Viewing the person who has died is still allowed. However, it’s at our discretion. Viewing is only allowed on embalmed cases. If you are still in quarantine yourself, you’ll need to stay at home and cannot visit. If you come and visit your loved one, please be aware of some guidelines that may be in place:

  • The coffin may be closed
  • Only one person allowed in the room at a time

If your loved one has died from coronavirus or their death was suspected to COVID-19, you will not be allowed to visit.

Where can we hold the service?

Almost all places of worship have closed, even for funeral services. This includes The Church of England, Catholic Diocese, Mosques and Synagogues. However, you can still have a service at a crematorium or at the graveside with a small number of mourners. Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth crematoria are still open for funeral services. Poole crematorium will still be holding services however the crematorium has made the decision to stop using it’s cremator as the service the cremator needs has now been superseded by the national emergency crisis regarding COVID-19.⁠ Funerals and everything regarding services will continue as usual despite this and there will be arrangements in place for the conveyance of the coffin to Bournemouth for cremation. We hope you will understand and take this into consideration.

Our Ceremony Rooms are still available for use at our Parkstone, Blandford and Corfe Mullen branches for Funeral services. With a maximum of only two gatherings per day, it provides a relaxed and private alternative to a public building during this time of uncertainties. Hand sanitizer and facilities for handwashing will be available on-site and after every service, the area will be cleaned and wiped down before the next family enter. Each branch will follow these procedures to avoid the risk of spreading the virus.

Families are advised to consider restricting attendance to immediate family members only so as to minimise the number of people in the chapel. Therefore, no more than 6 people are to be in attendance at each service, excluding the officiant and funeral director. Seating within the chapels will be co-ordinated to adhere to the 2-metre distancing guidance. The same rules apply in our chapels that only immediate family members are to attend the service.

Hill View Lodge in Wareham is also available to use for services, this venue is able to hold 10 people for funeral services and all social distancing regulations are in place. The service can conclude with burial or direct cremation.

What can we do if we can’t attend the service?

The crematoria have live stream and video recording equipment available for the services that take place. This means that anyone who can’t attend can still watch the funeral service from home.

Are you able to provide us with a limousine to get to the funeral?

The Douch Family Funeral Directors priority is the safety, well-being and health of our families, community and our employees. With that in mind, it is with regret that we have decided that we will be withdrawing the use of our limousines at our funerals and ask that families make their own way to the churchyard and crematoriums.

Can I still hold a wake at my home?

Gatherings in your home are not allowed right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to celebrate your loved one. We recommend using an online video call service like Zoom, Houseparty or Facetime to hold an online wake. Friends and family members can dial in and share memories and stories about the person who has died, just like at a normal wake.

What if I can’t afford the funeral?

We understand that paying for the funeral can sometimes be difficult. If you feel you may have difficulties with covering the funeral costs, please let us know. Our staff will be able to discuss the options that may be available to you. You may be entitled to help with paying for the funeral.

You may be eligible to receive a Funeral Payment from the Social Fund. This is means-tested and is dependent on the person responsible for arranging the funeral being in receipt of government benefits.

Find out other financial support available to you.

If you receive money from the deceased’s estate

Your Funeral Expenses Payment will be deducted from any money you get from the deceased’s estate. The estate includes any money or property they had but not a house or personal things left to a widow, widower or surviving civil partner.

Get the support you need

If you need someone to talk to about how you’re feeling, help is available. Our phones are open 24/7, 7days a week for you to get in contact with us regarding anything to do with your loved one’s funeral. Please do get in contact with any questions or queries there will be a funeral director on the other end of the phone available day or night to help you.

You’re not alone. When you lose someone you love, coping with bereavement and the grief can be all-consuming.

Everyone is different and you’ll react to the loss in a way that is unique to you. But support is available. You might find it helps to talk with someone outside your immediate family or to someone who has been through a similar experience.

See what support is available to you.

>> In light of the current epidemic our social and bereavement groups have been cancelled until further notice. Support is still available, so please do contact us if you are struggling <<

We would like to offer bereaved families solace in these unprecedented times with the knowledge that you will not be forgotten.

A Service of Thanksgiving will be arranged to commend each and everyone who has died during this Coronavirus Pandemic.

The service will be for everyone, of all or no Faith – to celebrate the lives of those who have passed. Please let us know if you would like to be advised when a date and time is arranged.

Our thoughts are with you and your family.

The Douch Family

 

 

 

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