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What if I kill someone at a funeral?’ Undertakers struggle to cope with coronavirus death toll and shortage of PPE

13th May 2020

Click here to read the full story from independent

By @mjcritchleyTuesday 21 April 2020 15:15


As with many frontline workers, a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and confusion over what is required is one of the most familiar complaints. The government’s advice says there is a small but continuing risk of infection to those handling the bodies of the deceased who were infected by Covid-19. Until the end of March, it was recommended that funeral directors wear full PPE while working with the dead.

Public Health England then released updated, industry-specific guidelines that said gowns and respirators were not necessary. “I’m on a lot of different forums with funeral directors,” says Jo Williamson, owner of Albany Funerals in Maidstone, Kent. “We were puzzled, thinking what has happened here?” Naturally, many of them drew a link between this change in advice and the highly publicised shortages in the NHS and elsewhere.

In a statement to The Independent, Public Health England said their initial advice was based on previous coronavirus outbreaks of Sars and Mers. The change of guidance was based on an “improved global understanding of Covid-19 and the safe systems of working in mortuary practice”, and their current advice is aligned with that of the World Health Organisation. Nevertheless, many funeral directors would rather be safe than sorry.

“We decided as a company that we would treat the initial advice we were given as what we would use,” Williamson says. “We’re in full PPE handling bodies.”



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3 days ago

Albany Funerals
Our branch in Great Chart, just outside of Ashford is within a beautiful converted barn on New Street farm which was previously a fully working farm. When visiting Albany you can be assured of a warm welcome in peaceful and relaxing surroundings. As you can see our bereavement dog, Pix, rather likes standing at the front door watching the world go by. Please contact us on 01233 650746 if you require further information. ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Albany Funerals
Rather than a traditional service did you know you can organise an unattended cremation? For some the formal ceremony at a crematorium is not feasible, too costly, unbearable or has no meaning in a space that can feel disconnected to the person who died. An unattended cremation enables you to arrange a celebration of your loved one’s life at a venue of your own choice where you can say goodbye with scattering of ashes, or not.This type of memorial gives you the opportunity, with more time and space, to add personal and creative aspects to saying farewell. At Albany we embrace this option wholeheartedly, there are so many ways of saying goodbye, we want people to know there are choices and families do not have to be constricted by tradition. The images are of an unattended cremation, at all times our staff and the staff at Vinters Park Crematorium treat the departed with peaceful dignity.In this instance the family held an afternoon tea around the coffin in the beautiful lounge space at our Ashford premises, they shared laughter, anecdotes and photographs whilst listening to favourite songs and reminiscing, it was a very special afternoon. (Photos shared with permission and government guidelines were observed). ... See MoreSee Less

3 weeks ago

Albany Funerals
Advice for us all, delivered in a beautiful, personal and poignant little clip. ... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago

Albany Funerals
Despite the light drizzle this was a beautiful service at Eden Valley Woodland Burial Ground celebrating the life of a much loved Mother. The flowers from Star & The Rose were stunning and seamlessly complemented the surroundings. ... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago

Albany Funerals
Today marks one year since the first national lockdown. The team at Albany will participate in a minute’s silence to show support to those who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Albany Funerals
Just received my pre-order of this amazing book co-written by my friend and fellow progressive funeral director Louise Winter. First quick thumb through revealed this little gem - The Unsaid. #theunsaid Available:We all know how this ends: Lessons about life and living from working with death and dying https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1472966813/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabc_8FNHPNF1TNZMCA4SV1GE ... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Albany Funerals
❤️❤️We're thinking of our friends in the UK and Ireland today where it is Mothering Sunday. Mother's Day is painful for many many people, and for so many different reasons. Dear ones, please take good care of yourselves. (Beautiful comic by Mari Andrew https://www.bymariandrew.com/) ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Albany Funerals
It’s #worldbookday so we are joining in and recommending two books for you. The first is called Delicacy, A Memoir About Cake and Death, a book written by @really_katywix - who we love! Our order has been placed as it’s not out until mid April. The second is a book called The Authenticity Project by @clare_pooley - this book is pure joy, a solid 10 out of 10! It’s proven that reading can help in so many ways including reducing stress and anxiety so choose a book and disappear from any turmoil swirling around you into reading and mindfulness. 💗 ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago

Albany Funerals
On the day Peter retired he popped his hat and cane here and we have not moved them since. We still call out good morning to him! Peter was integral to the team when we started but he’s now enjoying retirement to the full. We are very fortunate to be surrounded and supported by a wonderful team. ... See MoreSee Less
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