Care of a loved one is expected and isn't something we place a price on. Caring is essential and something we do routinely and without compromise. However, when families wish for their loved ones to be prepared for visiting, there are several ways in which we can provide this service.
Our Limited Preparation option allows your loved one to be washed and dressed. We ensure the eyes and mouth are closed and give the hair attention. Our Limited Preparation option also allows families to use our Chapel of Rest on an appointment basis. This option will meet their needs; many select this service even when viewing isn't intended as it affords peace of mind that their loved one is presentable. There will always be limitations to what can be achieved with this service, and signs of natural changes are challenging to hide. However, for those who wish for a more attentive preparation option, Hygienic Treatment may be worthy of consideration.
As Funeral Directors, we aim to provide every family with a positive viewing experience. When someone passes away, natural changes take place, the appearance is often dramatically altered, and the familiar memory picture may not always be the reality when visiting our Chapel of Rest. Embalming or Hygienic Treatment aims to restore a more familiar image that is sustainable, reassuring, and safe.
Hygienic Treatment affords three important functions:
Typically, this will be the perception most will have, the process of temporary preservation. From the moment one passes away, Mother Nature’s changes begin to take place. Many times, these changes are gradual, in some, they advance more rapidly. Hygienic Treatment slows down this natural process, allowing families a period between death and funeral to pay their respects without too many changes being obvious.
Hygienic Treatment is very much a keyhole surgical procedure. A preserving solution is injected into the arterial system of the body. Through mechanical means, the solution is circulated around the body until it reaches the tissues, where, through intervascular pressure, some of the solution penetrates the tissues. What isn’t taken to the tissues will continue through the vascular system where it will be removed through a vein. It is a process of flushing the body with a solution which will encourage even preservation to all areas. In simple terms, we inject through an Artery, we drain through a Vein, and the access point is made through one or two small incisions. Typically, one will perceive the process as injecting Formaldehyde, and in principle, this is often the case. However, Mortuary Science has advanced dramatically over the last few years. The chemical technology employed are some of the most technically advanced in the world, and we take great pride in knowing that we utilise the best products available. In more recent times, FORMALDEHYDE FREE options have come available, and our family has been trialling these products with significant success.
We have a dedicated and specially equipped Mortuary Facility which is designed to perform Hygienic Treatment. Our facilities are some of the best available, a clinical environment equipped with all the necessary state of the art requirements; it is our most substantial investment, our most important room in the Funeral Home and is operated by members of the Searson family.
Sanitation is equally important, and with an abundance of potential infections, Hygienic Treatment can control, or destroy these risks to those who have physical contact with the body. Protection of our staff is paramount, and we have strict control measures in place that provide a safe working environment. We utilise protective wear, processes and barrier systems that prevent cross-contamination. However, when families come to visit the Chapel of Rest, those safety measures are restricted, for obvious reasons.
As a family, we don’t just encourage the benefits of viewing, we also encourage visits to have a sense of normality. It is perfectly acceptable to hold a hand, touch their loved one, even kissing them is a natural need for many. Hygienic Treatment, along with preservation, also sanitises, or disinfects the body, internally through the injection process and externally through washing and topical treatments. It would be reasonable to expect that when someone passes away, odour becomes obvious. The chemical technology we employ also contains sanitisers, disinfectants, and deodorisers; they eliminate odour in most cases, making the viewing experience a little more comfortable but a lot safer for everyone. The Searson family have a strict policy of equality for all. Where many funeral directors won’t encourage viewing when known infection risk is present and wouldn’t offer Hygienic Treatment as an option, we do in many situations. We are professionals, we sensibly consider everyone who comes into our care as being a potential risk. By doing this, we exercise universal precautions, meaning everyone will have the same opportunities to visit the Chapel, even when certain infection risks are evident.
HOWEVER, ... and not to give the impression that everyone is an infection risk because they are not but sensible precautions are good practice. Just like we protect our hands with sanitising gel, we all know it helps reduce risk, we don’t all do it, and we don’t all get infected. Sanitation and disinfection are just sensible steps in keeping us all protected.
In our opinion, the most beneficial aspect of Hygienic Treatment … how someone looks in the Chapel. Families will always have an image in their minds of what they think they are going to see, and we do all we can to help create that image. Hygienic Treatment not only preserves and disinfects but also aids in the removal of natural discolouration as well as hydrates sunken or dehydrated tissues. Our products contain Emollients, Moisturisers, Colouring Agents as well as other elements that revive the visual effects of death.
Presentation is more than just Arterial Injection; other benefits are derived from our Hygienic Treatment Services. Hair is a vital framework of the face, and when attended to correctly, can make a dramatic difference to how someone looks. Where natural colouring is difficult to reinstate, specialised Mortuary Cosmetics can help bring back missing natural colouration. One of the most frequent comments families make about visiting a loved one, is how the mouth doesn’t look right and, in most cases, a situation we are unable to correct. In life, one’s visual character and personality are portrayed through expression and facial mannerisms. When someone passes away, those unique visual traits are not able to be expressed, and this can have a dramatic effect on the visual appearance. Hygienic Treatment can benefit this critical area, providing more pronounced hydration to the lips, and bringing back natural contours lost through dehydration.
We can’t take away the reality of what has happened, and when one passes away, we will never be able to bring back a living image, and it would be wrong to even try and achieve it. On the other hand, Hygienic Treatment can significantly help in restoring a more natural and faithful representation of the one you know and love and this, in turn, will undoubtedly provide a more rewarding viewing experience. PLEASE REMEMBER, it is your choice, your decision, Hygienic Treatment is NOT an essential requirement, more a beneficial one, for you and your loved one
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Do you remove all the blood?
NO … that isn’t the intention, nor is it achievable. After someone passes away, the blood, that was circulating throughout the body settles and begins to gravitate to the lower regions. Being as the body is lying flat, settlement of blood is often to the back out of view. Over a short time, blood begins to solidify and will be locked within the tissues. The process of Arterial Injection is intended to restore the natural moisture content of the Arterial System, so the preserving solution can penetrate the tissues. In turn, the solution will also treat the retained blood, so as not to encourage any further deterioration. When we remove excess solution from the vein, very little is blood, just preserving solution that hasn’t been absorbed by the superficial tissues.
How long does it take to carry out?
This is very much dependent upon the duration of time between death and Treatment, in most cases, three hours is an average time although this can extend to a day or more, depending on the needs of the body. We don’t commit to a set time, we take each case on needs, and if we require more time and use more products, then that is what we do. Typically, we ask for three working days once we have the necessary documentation that permits Hygienic Treatment. This will give us all the time necessary to ensure everything has been achieved.
How long will it last?
Hygienic Treatment doesn’t stop natural changes, it only slows the process. As such, Hygienic Treatment is a temporary measure, but one that will, in most cases, provide the required stability to see through visits from family during the days leading up to the funeral. This could be one or two weeks depending on what changes have already occurred. In some cases, and where an Autopsy has been performed, preservation is more challenging to achieve. Every deceased has their own needs, especially when natural changes have already started to advance. In such cases, we would guide families on how long visiting could take place, but take each day as it comes.
Do you use make-up?
NO … although we occasionally employ specialised Mortuary Cosmetic which are designed to reinstate natural colouring. This may be limited to a slight, delicate application, and typically not noticeable to those visiting. On the other hand, there may be times when visually, colourations such as a bruise need concealing. The Searson family are confident that they have the most comprehensive range of products and skills you will find anywhere, and we extend these types of services as standard.
Who performs Hygienic Treatment?
We do, the Searson family. Most funeral directors don’t employ their own Embalmers, and those who offer the service, contract it to private companies. The Searson family have two resident embalmers, Andy and Matt, both of whom have a wealth of experience, varied skillsets and a dedication to exceed. Matt looks after our day to day procedures, Andy offers his skills in more specialist treatments, together they make a formidable team
Do I have to have Hygienic Treatment?
NO … not at all. It’s your choice, you make the decision. You can still visit without Hygienic Treatment; it just means we are more limited in what can be achieved. The cost we make for hygienic Treatment is not for profit. It is the one area of our service that is carried out without financial gain, and hopefully, this provides reassurance to our families that we’re not offering it for extra money.
What about refrigeration?
The Searson family have a dedicated Care Room that is temperature-controlled which provides a stable environment for the interim period. Refrigeration is a means of slowing down natural changes, but it is limited in its ability. Everyone who comes into our care is, initially, kept in a controlled environment. The temperature is usually about six degrees. Maintaining a stable environment stabilises the body. Varying the temperature from warm to cold, to warm decreases the ability to control deterioration and this is what happens when families visit. The body is removed from a cold environment, taken to a warm chapel, the body temperature increases. Then the body is placed back in a cold environment, the temperature lowers, accelerating the process of natural changes. Temperature-controlled environments also accelerate dehydration and the drying out of facial tissues, which can change how someone looks. Over several days, dehydration can be equally as challenging as other natural changes that take place.
I’m not sure, what should I do?
Understandable, and for most, it hasn’t ever been a topic of conversation. There is a lot to consider when arranging a funeral, and the question of whether or not to visit the Chapel of Rest, is often a very important decision. It is important to remember that the Searson family are professionals, we’re dedicated, committed, and driven by the desire the achieve. Often families will take our guidance, some may need more information or more time to consider their options. If you need more assurance, and some peace of mind, why not speak with one of our Embalmers. They are very approachable, and always willing to give you as much help as they can in assisting you in making your decision. That decision might be ‘do I want hygienic Treatment?’ it maybe ‘do I want to visit the Chapel of Rest?’
Our Embalmers will talk you through your options on a more personal level. They will provide an assessment of your loved one’s needs, suggest what steps might be taken and if they feel that a visit to the Chapel of Rest would be the best option for you. We never forget that you are entrusting us with your most valuable procession, and we ensure their care and wellbeing are of the highest standard. Ask a team member if you want to speak with one of our Embalmers.