Why Do Funeral Homes Wrap Bodies in Plastic?

The Funeral Industry promoted embalming and viewings as ways of showing the right amount of respect to a body, as well as establishing a clear identity for a body, to ensure that those viewing a body could not deny the reality of death. Most funeral directors will not schedule a public viewing of the body without embalming and aesthetic restoration.

Funeral homes wrap bodies in plastic to prevent bugs and bacteria from entering the corpse. Plastic is chosen because it effectively seals in gases produced by decomposition and expands when the body does throughout the process. Moreover, the plastic can be removed easily when the funeral time arrives.

As long as you schedule a viewing or cremation soon after the death of a loved one, you may ask for a non-embalmed body to reduce costs. You may still be able to hold the traditional viewing during services, but the funeral home will not charge you so much since they will get to reuse the casket once more.

Plastic Wrapping Can Slightly Preserve a Body for Transport

Some in the funeral industry believe people can even re-interment bodies themselves at home. In some cases, a community member would move a body afterward, under circumstances in which no other Funeral Service staff was available. When a death occurs in remote, isolated communities, bodies can sometimes be kept in the homes of families right after the death. The body may not need to be sealed with a hermetically sealed lid and may suffice with an ordinary transport casket or container, by usual practices in deaths associated with communicable diseases.

In addition, appropriate attire will make sure that the body is presented to the person planning to have a casket-open or casket-closed funeral. We all will not be passing away wearing the clothes we loved, so funeral directors must make sure that the body is presented well during these last moments. While the funeral director or mortician is responsible for the actual dressing of the body, clothing is chosen by the family.

Funeral directors treat dressing a body with the utmost care and respect, and they help fulfill the family’s ultimate wishes to say goodbye to a loved one. Funeral directors and embalmers are experts on how best to prepare a body for a funeral or reburial. A body does not necessarily have to be embalmed to be dressed, it is just the most common cause. Because embalming requires many different chemicals and liquids, the body is then dried off and moved onto a dressing table.

Embalming Chemicals Are Mostly Safe

One might think the chemicals and bodily fluids that come with embalming are being disposed of as a biohazard, but this is simply untrue. Embalming may prevent decomposition for a long time, but the location where a body is buried matters greatly too. While embalming does not prevent the natural decomposition process, it does make the body look more like a living person, particularly if the body is going to be displayed in a casket display.

Drying makes sure that clothing is protected against any of the harsh chemicals used in the preservation of the body. If that is the case, we wrap a plastic cover over the body beneath its clothes to protect the clothes and prevent any bleeds.

If a body is going overseas, we increase the force and volume of liquid used to provide long-term retention and hygiene. If the body is embalmed, however, the process is slowed so that the eyes do not jut outwards anymore. Ambient temperature has a greater impact on the decomposition process than the time elapsed from death, regardless if a body has been embalmed.

Bodies Deteriorate Rapidly if Left Alone

As long as a body is not available for insects, the adipocere may form one month after death, protecting the body for over a century. If a body is left undisturbed at room temperature, it deteriorates rapidly, so in the mortician’s office, it is placed in a refrigeration unit until the death is registered. Refrigeration may be used to preserve the body pending the funeral services, or if arrangements are delayed.

The purpose is to preserve a body so that it is fit to display publicly at a funeral, to transport it over great distances, or for medical or scientific purposes, such as anatomical studies. Today, the individual personal effects and surgical appliances such as pacemakers are removed, and the body is then placed into either a family-selected cremation casket or an alternative container. Once the body is cremated, these spare medical parts and prosthetics are melted and saved for street signs and auto parts.

After the death, licensed funeral professionals assume ownership of the body remains, establishing a rigorous chain of custody that will ensure that cremated bodies are identified accurately following the cremation process. Once the death has been certified, we will travel to the family’s residence or hospital to retrieve the body and return it to the funeral home. You will fill out a cause of death document, and the body may be released for cremation or burial.

How Funerals Are Approached by Family and Directors

When you die, your family decides which funeral home they would like to use, then we receive a phone call about coming and picking up the body. We are always respectful to the family and allow time for them to say goodbye, but at the same time, we have a schedule to follow, and we have to return the body to the funeral home as quickly as possible.

We all want to see our bodies treated with the utmost care, so for a lot of families, that is part of their last goodbye. We had bodies in here three to four months before they were flown back home to Africa to be funeralized.

Many funeral directors feel seeing a body is a necessary part of the grief process, even when a death is expected a long time in advance. It typically takes approximately two, two-and-a-half hours to fully render the body down to bone fragments only through the cremation process (the amount of time involved is heavily influenced by the age of the retort used, but also by the size and weight of the body remains).

Embalming also allows funeral homes to add to consumers’ costs (up to $3000 and up) with extra preparations of the body, more expensive caskets with possibly protective features, a more expensive external burial container, and more elaborate sets of ceremonies.

Gene Botkin

Gene is the director of the Theosis Christian Project. He studied physics and military science before founding the Project. Gene is currently pursuing his doctorate in systems engineering at an engineering college in the Ozarks. The Theosis Christian Project is his attempt to expand Holy Orthodoxy in America.

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