Since the global pandemic began in March of 2020, it has transformed and altered many professional industries. Although it is one of the most disturbing and tragic components of the pandemic, the rate of death associated with COVID-19 has severely impacted the working conditions and environment of, of course, physicians and nurses who work in a medical setting, but less often discussed are how licensed professionals in the funeral home industry have experienced and managed the COVID-19 Pandemic.
There are a variety of factors within the conditions of the pandemic that uniquely and directly affect funeral home directors and embalmers. When epidemics or pandemics occur, there is commonly a large increase in deaths, sometimes known as “excess deaths.” Funeral homes, which are equipped to handle sometimes just several deceased individuals in one day (depending on the size of the facility), become overburdened and overwhelmed with the deceased. This manifests in multiple ways. First, there is the physical and logistical issue of having too many bodies for the facility. This creates the conditions by which funeral homes must rent refrigerated trucks to store bodies in the interim while they work on others, or temporary storage solutions like pallets or wooden boxes. This can also result in mass storage sites for bodies that have already been prepared or unclaimed bodies. Alongside the logistical issue of having excess deaths is the emotional and mental toll upon the licensed professional. While funeral home directors and embalmers are very acquainted with death, the emotional turmoil of experiencing their facilities struggle to adapt to the surplus of deceased individuals, in addition to the trauma of the effects of the pandemic, can greatly affect their ability to perform their duties.
With the chaos of the pandemic as described above, it can lead to various situations and oversights that could invite investigation of one’s license or even generate complaints that the IDFPR will investigate. If facilities are unable to keep up with the demand, and these licensed professionals are subject to traumatic conditions, then it is inevitable that protocols might be adjusted, things might slip through the cracks, records might falter, corners might be cut, or a variety of other situations. It is important to try and maintain diligence and normalcy within these situations, yet the inevitability of error is always present in such situations.
Williams & Nickl has represented thousands of licensed professionals and their licensed business entities who face issues with IDFPR. If you find yourself in such a situation, Williams & Nickl can provide the help you need.