Handling a body

PPE

During this time, there are reduced requirements for an individual completing the cremation form 4 or the MCCD to view the body. However, if you are required to view the body, or wish to clarify the identity of the deceased, the guidance below for managing infection control and wearing PPE should be followed:

 

There have been questions and concerns raised about the removal of pacemakers and other implantable devices. NAFD website states (https://nafdcovid19.org.uk/advice-for-funeral-directors/frequently-asked-questions/) If the hospital does not remove the pacemaker prior to the funeral director taking the deceased person into their care, Public Health England guidance confirms that embalmers may undertake this procedure using the appropriate PPE.

The British Institute of Embalmers has issued specific guidance on this process to its members and the Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that funeral directors will be able to access PPE supplies through their local resilience forum. However, we are aware that some funeral directors’ own policy is not to embalm or remove pacemakers from confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases.

The British Heart Rhythm Society has also issued a statement on Deactivation and Removal of ICDs and Pacemakers Post Mortem during COVID Pandemic: https://bhrs.com/bhrs-mortuary-icd-deactivation-statement-covid-19/

 

HSE have this guidance (page 24):

https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg283.htm

 

and DAMG have this guidance:

http://www.dmag2020.org/bie-guidance-for-embalmers/

 

All guidance states that pacemakers / implants can be removed to facilitate a cremation request by a family, but there should be an appropriate risk assessment carried out, appropriate PPE available and the individual taking it out should be competent and in agreement to undertake the procedure.

  • The Royal College of Pathologists link to PPE and examination of the body / post mortems:

https://www.rcpath.org/uploads/assets/0b7d77fa-b385-4c60-b47dde930477494b/G200-TBPs-Guidance-for-care-of-deceased-during-COVID-19-pandemic.pdf

  • Faith at end of Life Guidance:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/496231/Faith_at_end_of_life_-_a_resource.pdf

  • Considerations related to the safe handling of bodies of deceased persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19:

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/COVID-19-safe-handling-of-bodies-or-persons-dying-from-COVID19.pdf