Family members may wish to view the body of their loved one. This can be
done in a private or public visitation. Viewing can be a healthy
step toward the resolution of grief. It can be helpful in accepting the fact
that death has occurred, especially to the immediate family. Each family
member's viewpoint on visitation or viewing may be different. Leaving the
option of visitation open to an individual's own emotional needs is in most
cases the most favorable response to viewing the deceased. Prior to or
shortly after death some people may be adamant that they do not wish to view
the deceased, then change their mind a short time later. By presenting the
option of visitation, all family member's individual emotional needs can be
Preparation for Viewing
Sanitary Care, prepare the body for viewing including dressing and
cosmetizing of the deceased.
Under provincial regulation, embalming can only be performed if by
written acknowledgement on the funeral services contract. It is not always
necessary in relation to viewing.
Embalming is a surgical technique used to disinfect, preserve and restore
the human body to an acceptable physical appearance. The foremost reason for
embalming is the protection of public health. Contrary to the old belief
that "the germ dies with the host", human remains begin to decompose almost
immediately, therefore offering an ideal environment for microbial growth.
Untreated remains can pose serious public health concerns. Additionally,
embalming restores the body to an acceptable physical appearance.
Restoration is not intended to make the deceased look like the person did
during life but rather to enhance the appearance of the deceased and allow
for viewing. Many experts on bereavement agree that viewing the deceased
confirms the reality of death and helps survivors take an important step
toward recovering from their loss. Please note that embalming may be
required if the deceased is being transported by air to another country
where local laws need be observed.
An autopsy (or post mortem examination) is the medical examination of the
body after death has occurred. The autopsy can be ordered by the Coroner if
required to investigate the death to determine: the cause of death; the
manner of death; to continue the clinical study of the case; investigate
problems of physical, chemical, bacteriological, pathological and anatomical
conditions. The Coroner has the authority to order an autopsy without the
consent of the next of kin. There are times when the attending physician or
the family members themselves may request an autopsy, however, an autopsy is
not necessarily required.
Do I have to use a funeral
no law that states that you must use a funeral home. There is however, so
many details that need to be looked after that in most cases a trained
professional is the best person to handle the matter. Most people are not
equipped to handle the storage or transportation of the deceased from the
place of death; obtaining the necessary
Medical certification of death
At the time of
death the attending physician or coroner will sign a medical certification
of death form (this is not
the same as a death certificate).
In most cases the funeral director will obtain this document which is
required to register the death. The registration of death form is filled out
by the funeral director.
The funeral director
will ask you information that is required to complete the form such as:
residency information, marital status, personal health care number,
occupation, birth date and birth place, father and mother's names and
Both forms are
filed at the Division of Vital Statistics. A permit for disposition (burial
or cremation) is then issued to the funeral director. You may wish at this
time to bring clothing for the deceased to the funeral home