Choosing The Right Cremation Provider

The cremation process is relatively simple, but it does involve several steps and multiple entities. With 2.4 million deaths and more than 900,000 cremations occurring in the United States each year, failure can occur.

The Facts

  • Over 165,000 deaths and almost 50,000 cremations occurred in Texas during 2009.* Incidents of body switching are extremely rare.
  • Funeral homes are licensed and regulated by the State of Texas and are inspected at least every two years per Texas Occupations Code Sec. 651.157.
  • Using transport companies is a standard industry practice. It is the best possible way to be responsive to families while keeping costs within reason.

The standard process

There are numerous standard practices used to reduce misidentifications including:

  • At the place of death, a family member or health care professional knowledgeable about the person is asked to verify the identity and witness the identification band being attached to the body.
  • The identification tag placed on the body at the time of transportation should be kept on the body throughout the entire cremation process.
  • The crematory is required to provide a receipt documenting the body has been received.
  • A log of all crematory activity should be up-to-date and available to inspectors at any time, without notice.
  • Crematory operators must ensure ALL paperwork matches the identification tag prior to beginning a cremation.

Make sure you fully understand your provider’s process.

aCremation’s extra safe-guards

Going beyond industry expectations is aCremation’s standard practice, including:

  • Providing families the option, especially when they are not present at the time of death, to have a brief identification viewing (except for instances of advanced decomposition) at no additional charge.
  • Encouraging families to submit a recent photo of their loved one so the crematory can conduct photo verification on their behalf.
  • Collecting a detailed physical description of each person which includes such things as eye color, height, approximate weight and unique characteristics such as tattoos or scars. This information is sent to the crematory as part of the documentation. The description is used to verify the person’s identity prior to cremation.
  • The identification tag that accompanies the deceased throughout their time at the crematory is returned to the family with the remains.

Taking the additional time to perform these extra steps provides aCremation’s families with reassurance that mistakes are eliminated, and their loved-one is taken care of with respect and dignity.

Funeral service professionals are called to serve families during their time of need. Mistakes such as body misidentifications are incredibly rare. But when they do occur, it’s not just those involved who are impacted. It is felt by all of the industry professionals who devote their careers to easing the pain of others.

* Source: Cremation Association of America (CANA), Annual Statistics Report, 2010.

Mary Beth Barnett

About Mary Beth Barnett

Mary Beth Barnett is a licensed Funeral Director in Texas. Her involvement with aCremation began before our doors opened – researching how we could provide affordable cremations and still keep quality and service standards high. Through this process, she developed a passion for working with families who are going through one of the most stressful phases of life – planning for death.

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