Sunday, September 12, 2010

Waterless Embalming

The draft is about complete? Are there any specific concerns that you would like addressed?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guide To The Arrangement Conference

Guide To The Arrangement Conference

In this issue I thought it most appropriate to address the Arrangement Process. I have been noticing and hearing, that a lot of families are facing the loss of a loved one for the first time and truly don’t know what to expect. By giving you access to this information most of your anticipated anxiety and stress should be greatly reduced.

The arrangement conference should be a relatively stress free event. During this conference with your funeral director; certain basic questions pertaining to the deceased are asked in order to complete specific law required paperwork, and details are talked over about service preferences. This conference actually can be broken down into 8 easy points.

The Eight Key Points Of The Arrangement Conference

1. Compile Vital Statistic Information: First and foremost the funeral director is legally obligated by state and/or federal law to file certain paperwork pertaining to your loved one. These questions are necessary to do this. One such document is the Death Certificate another the Social Security Administration Form SSA-721 and if your loved one is military or government affiliated there may be a few others. The information usually needed by your funeral director is as follows:

The Name, Address, Birth Place, Birth Date, Marital Status, Social Security Number, Father’s Name, Mothers Maiden Name, Occupation, Education Level Military Affiliation and Ethnicity of the Your Loved One. This portion of the conference usually takes about 7 to 10 minutes.

2. Deciding Ceremony Preferences: All funeral homes offer a full range of services to fit your requests. Your usual options are as follows: Traditional, Contemporary or Graveside Funeral Service Immediate Burial Without Formal Rites Funeral Followed By Cremation Cremation With Memorial Service Direct Cremation Don’t feel limited to only what is offered. If you have a special request PLEASE tell your funeral director. If there is a way to further personalize your loved ones service that has not been thought of; it is the funeral directors duty to help satisfy your wishes within the constraints of the Law and basic local morals. Your Funeral Director will help guide you in deciding that perfect service that memorializes your loved one to your exact wishes.

3. Selection Casket or Urn: This is straight and simple. Selection should be left totally up to the family. The funeral director should explain all merchandise in detail, so that the client family can make an educated decision. A few things to consider are material type (Bronze, Copper, Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel or Wood), Interior Material, Color, Size and Cost. (To receive more information on selecting caskets look at the Selecting A Casket Video on our Merchandise Page, then feel free to browse our full merchandise.)

4. Selection of Outer Burial Container: Most cemeteries require some type of outer burial contain. An Outer Burial Container or Vault serves two main purposes: 1. It serves as a receptacle of protection for your loved one. The casketed remains is place inside of the vault / outer burial container and then sealed. Upon this sealing process the casket is guarded against water and other elements of the earth.

2. and A vault or outer burial container helps to equalize the weight of the earth keeping the grave from sinking in and adding extra protection to the casket as the cemetery uses heavy equipment during their daily operations. A full line of vaults is available by your funeral director and he / she will gladly explain.

5. Review Cemetery or Final Placement Options:

There are many nice cemeteries available in our area and we by no means have any preference one over the other. This option is TOTALLY left up to the family. Whether choosing ground burial, entombment, inurnment, or scattering of the cremains, your funeral director will help with coordinating this part of the service. (Note: Cemetery expenses are separate from the funeral expenses. The family MUST take care of cemetery arrangements unless something has been worked out prior.)

6. Signing of the Contract and Service Authorizations: At this point the funeral director has made sure that he has understood all of your wishes and prepares his itemized statement for review. If you agree to the items discussed then a contract will need to be signed.

7. Determine The Method Of Payment:

A family usually a few options when considering payment. Most funeral homes accept the following forms of payment:

Assignable Insurance Policies Certified or Cashier’s Check Visa MasterCard Discover Card American Express Money Order Personal Check (ask your Funeral Director) Cash

8. Finalization of Details: At this point the major issues have been addressed and the funeral director knows what he needs to do in order to satisfy you wishes but there are still a few things that need to be addressed.

How do you want the initial “Death Notice” to read in the newspaper? Do you need help preparing the Obituary for the Newspaper? When the Obituary must be ready so that it can run in the Newspaper on the desired day? When the clothing is needed? What Clothing is needed? Is there any particular hairstyle that is desired? Will the Church or Family be providing the Funeral Programs?

The Arrangement Conference should easily be done within 1 hour without rushing. I hope that this article helps to clear up any questions and ease the arrangement process. Remember, your Funeral Director is a highly trained licensed professional, and should be compassionately willing to help with every detail.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Waterless Embalming


Waterless embalming is a subject that has been discussed for decades. It truly may be the most controversial topic in embalming. Those embalmers that use this technique swear by it; while most others are very skeptical. Waterless embalming is merely a technique. We as professionals must get out of the mindset that embalming is just embalming. Just as we have adapted a certain technique for: jaundice, edema, trauma, decomposition, the infant and even the straight case; this is just another technique.

Embalming has become a stepchild to some funeral service professionals, but it should be treated as the first born. Because of the importance of embalming, waterless embalming is a fully justified technique which needs to be addressed.

Every technique has a time and a place; waterless embalming is certainly one for every embalmers arsenal. There are times when the remains is already waterlogged and no further chemical dilution is necessary; also there are occasions when there will be an extended length of time between embalming and final disposition. Lastly, a remains experiencing delayed embalming is also an excellent candidate for waterless embalming. I am in no means saying that waterless embalming should be the norm on every case. Waterless injection is just another way to get the job done with maximum effectiveness.

Waterless embalming is only used when there is a definite need for maximum fixation or dehydration. This concept works totally on chemical mixture. Because there is no primary chemical dilution by the embalmer in the tank, a lot of common sense and judgement are needed. Because of this a thorough case analysis is a must. Again waterless injection is not meant to be used on every case. Never the less a few embalmers do employee this technique quite often.

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The Embalmer's Nightmare

Tissue Gas has been A nightmare for many an embalmer. Please give me a few of your ideas on the topic. I have written an indepth article on the subject. Please take a look at the excerpt. The Discussion Board holds the complete article along with the powerpoint presentation.  Let's get the conversation going. 

Tissue Gas Doesn’t Have To Be A Nightmare
By Mark E. Fisher, FSL
Copyright Claim #1-364916156
Preregistration # PRE000003316

Part 1


Tissue gas can be one of the most difficult cases an embalmer will ever encounter. This article was derived not from an insane interest, but out of necessity. Between January 2008 and February 2009, I’ve encountered a total of 15 tissue gas cases, with one of those being the result of cross contamination of not properly disinfecting a trocar. Rather than giving up in defeat, I searched for a solution. These strategies and procedures proved to work and each case was viewable. So please don’t be afraid, try these methods when faced with your next tissue gas case and I guarantee success!

The Villain
Tissue gas is caused by a spore forming anaerobic bacterium called Clostridium perfringens, usually resulting in what can be referred to as the “Embalmer’s Nightmare”. This spore forming bacterium is a natural inhabitant of the gastro-intestinal tract. After death, the bacterium can spread rapidly, escaping from the gastro-intestinal tract to other body tissues. This is especially contingent when embalming is delayed or when the remains is under embalmed. It’s important to remember that tissue gas can be spread prior to, during, or following embalming; therefore, thoroughly disinfect and sterilize all instruments.

The problems caused by tissue gas can include the following: a very unpleasant odor of decomposition, serious distention of the eyes, tongue, face, and all body tissue; discolorations; and skin-slip. In severe cases the skin-slip can be extensive and the pressure of the gas can cause blood vessels at skin surfaces to become highly visible. In extreme cases, green and black discolorations of decomposition are present beginning in the abdominal region. Misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, or incorrect treatment can cause caskets to be closed, resulting in unnecessary anguish for families and even worse litigation!

Most tissue gas cases can be viewable. These special cases do require an additional amount of time and expertise, but don’t be discouraged. No practicing embalmer anywhere in the world can honestly say that he was born knowing how to embalm. We all started somewhere and had to gain knowledge on the subject matter.

After obtaining the basic knowledge we then learned basic practical application. In my opinion the only difference between basic practical application, moderate practical application, advanced practical application and extreme practical application is the experience level of the embalmer.

If we are never challenged by the “difficult case” where will our skill set go? Funeral service, especially embalming is an ever changing industry. If we are not constantly learning, then stagnation will certainly settle in.

Don’t be afraid of tissue gas, it is only a different condition that requires a different practical application. Welcome the opportunity to add a new challenge to your repertoire.


From this article I have been blessed to give this presentation on the International, National, State and Local levels.

I'm in no way saying that my techniques are the only techniques. There is always more than one way to skin a cat.

If interested in the entire article let me know.

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Come to our Discussion Forums

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The Licensed Professional Board and the
Mortuary Student Board will require proof
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This blog is designed to be a complete resource for the Funeral Service Professional.  It will will be designed with 3 specific interest levels in mind. 

1 "Professional Talk" - The Licensed Professional Blog.  This area will require verification before access is granted. From here full access will be given to: articles, presentations, discussion boards, and live webinars. This section will offer live online chat for immediate solutions.

2 "Need A Little Help??" - The Blog just for the Mortuary Science Student.  Here we will touch on topics such as merchandising, embalming, restorative art, cosmetics, the arrangement conference and even the synergy of modern technology.  Verification will also be necessary to access this blog. From here access will be given to my discussion boards, articles and many helpful links. There will also be scheduled webinars for various topics.

3 "The Complete Funeral Director's Guide" - Because Funeral Service is such a mystery we will address basic issues of funeral for the general public.  We will also include a discussion board, "Ask The Director".

This blog is intended to be an interactive resource. Don't be shy.

Let's make this a success.

Don't let experience, demographic, or anything else be a deterrant.

The Egyptian god of Embalming

" Show me the manner in which a nation or a community cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the law of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals."
~ William E. Gladstone ~

As our topics evolve, some topics make be entertained on our member only message boards.

Thanks for coming by and please take a look around.

 Please give some topic suggestions.

If the general public finds a liking to this board that's OK. This forum is to be used to broaden knowledge of funeral service as a whole.

Remember there will be member only discussion boards for indepth discussion. The member access areas will be divided into 2 sections. One help the funeral service student and the other for the licensed professional.

Canopic Jars
Thanks again for making this a success!!!

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