The Value of Funeral Home Aftercare

January 4, 2021

Beyond the Service: How Funeral Homes Offer Essential Support to Families

With the new year underway, it is easy to focus on those aspects of our industry that have changed, such as the growing popularity of live stream services or the shift toward green burials. While it is certainly important for funeral professionals to stay on top of the 2021 industry trends, we cannot lose sight of what has not changed—and that is the need for funeral homes to provide comprehensive, compassionate care to families who are grieving. This responsibility begins during the initial conversation with a family member and, more often than not, extends to supporting family members in their grief journey well beyond the service.

Funeral homes, as you well know, work with individuals who are in their most vulnerable and fragile state. For many families, a funeral director can be a welcome beacon in a storm. Even as you provide practical guidance and direction to families planning a service, you are a steadying and comforting presence. It can sometimes be difficult for families to leave the funeral home following a service. They may have taken comfort in preparing for the service as a way to fill the painful void in the immediate days following a loved one’s death. How can you continue to support these family members even as they step away from your funeral home? 

Build a grief support network.

Funeral directors can be expected to wear many hats, and one is that of a grief counselor. However, it is important for you to direct families to connect with professional and experienced grief counselors. We recommend growing your funeral home’s network of local grief support providers, as well as online options for those who would prefer to speak to someone from the comfort of their home. 

Host grief support workshops.

Consider coordinating regular grief support workshops—held safely either in person or through Zoom—for families to share their experiences and support each other.

Foster a collection of grief resources for families.

Some funeral homes curate a library of grief resources, from informational books and memoirs to grief kits intended to help children process the death of a loved one. Make sure to communicate the availability of these resources to your families.

Plan future touchpoints with families.

Weeks after the service for their loved one, send a handwritten note or a personalized email to the family. Let them know you are thinking of them and remembering their loved one. Convey that if they need any additional support, you are there and willing.

Offer opportunities for remembrance.

Coordinate seasonal or annual memorial services for family members to celebrate the lives of those who have died. These opportunities for remembrance can be therapeutic for those who are grieving, particularly when they can join with others who have also lost loved ones. 

Funeral homes are integral to the communities they serve for much more than organizing funeral processions and planning burials. Your impact is in the compassionate care you provide to families year after year, well beyond the funeral service. How is your funeral home providing aftercare? 

If our team can provide any additional support or guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out. NMS is here to help in any way possible.

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