For many, a visit to the Chapel of Rest is an important part of grieving. It’s a personal decision, though and it’s perfectly acceptable to choose not to visit. If you do choose to pay your last respects in a chapel of rest, you might also want to know more about the etiquette when visiting.
The chapel of rest is a quiet, dignified environment in which friends and family can pay their last respects to their loved one. Each of our offices has its own private chapel of rest. In order to make your visit as peaceful as possible, appointments need to be made and the following guidance should be noted.
Once funeral arrangements have been made and confirmed, we suggest that at least three working days should be left before families begin to request appointments at the chapel of rest. This gives time for the completion of paperwork, the preparation of the coffin and the care of the deceased. Please be aware that three days is only a guide and on occasion may have to be extended depending on individual circumstances. In all instances we will call you once your loved one is in the care of your chosen chapel of rest.
The etiquette in the chapel of rest is usually more relaxed than at the funeral itself, but you should always check with us and definitely the family or next of kin of the deceased for any specific guidelines.
The most common questions at this time are around speaking in the Chapel of Rest, what to wear, taking pictures and in current circumstances how the Covid-19 pandemic affects the process.
There are not usually any rules around not speaking when mourners visit the deceased person in the chapel. It’s often a time for final words, so while this is perfectly normal, it’s always worth thinking about the volume of what you say and of course the language. It’s certainly not a time for airing grievances.
Unless there are cultural or religious reasons for wearing specific clothes in the chapel of rest there is not usually any formal etiquette with regards to dress. However, you may wish to dress in a certain way as a mark of respect, or even as a fun memory, always remember to be respectful though, dress should not be inappropriate.
This is generally frowned upon but is acceptable in some cultures, we do not encourage it on a general basis. You should always be mindful whether or not the family may be further upset by you taking photos. Unless you have been given implicit permission, you must not use a camera, phone or recording device in the Chapel of Rest.
We believe that a last goodbye is so important to families, especially during this time when many are unable to visit their loved ones before they pass away due to restrictions at Hospitals and Nursing Homes. We have closely followed the advice from Public Health England. They have not put in place restrictions on relatives visiting the Chapel of Rest, even if your relative has passed away of the coronavirus.
Our only restriction is that we request that only 2 family members at a time attend the Chapel of Rest but we will work with you to ensure that everyone who wishes to visit is able to do so.
Our professional staff work safely and are provided with the recommended PPE, meaning that we are able to care for your loved one no matter the circumstances that led to their passing. For your safety and that of our dedicated colleagues, we will ask your permission to carry out a procedure called embalming, which will ensure that your loved one continues to rest peacefully whilst in our care. You can even supply a favourite outfit for your loved one to be dressed in or if you prefer, we can supply a suitable gown for them.
Appointments for visits to the chapel of rest should be made through the office where the funeral has been arranged, during normal office hours.
We understand that not everyone is able to visit the Chapel of Rest during normal office hours, so we are able to offer ‘out of hours’ appointments to all our Chapels of Rest upon request and subject to availability. Please note this facility has been suspended during the current crisis.
N.B. Please note that these are limited to 2 visits per family.
(Excludes direct cremation and essentials packages)
N.B. We will always try to accommodate any specific requests, but these cannot be guaranteed, please consult with your arranger for any special requests, such as extended visitation periods.
To come to terms with the death of a loved one it’s natural that you will want to mourn properly but the coronavirus pandemic has bought its own set of challenges. If a person is isolating or showing symptoms it may not always be safe for them to attend a funeral or visit the Chapel of Rest and social distancing will have an inevitable effect on the way funerals can be carried out.
To reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus only the following should attend funeral services:
Government advice is that anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus, even mild ones, should not attend a funeral because of the risk they pose to others.
However, key mourners of the deceased can include those who are self-isolating because another member of the household has symptoms of coronavirus. They should keep at least 2 metres between themselves and let other mourners know they are self-isolating at home. In these circumstances they should not attend at the same time as a mourner who is shielding or extremely clinically vulnerable. They should also use their own transport if possible and if sharing a vehicle wear a face mask.
You can still arrange a funeral and it’s feasible that much of the formality can be done over the phone or via email to maintain social distancing and reduce the risk of spreading the infection. We are here to assist you in any way we can. If you are showing symptoms you may not be able to attend the funeral but we can delay the funeral for a short time if necessary to allow you to recover.
You can still visit the Chapel of Rest during the pandemic, however the numbers of people allowed in at one time has been reduced to two, to allow for proper social distancing. If you’re a friend of the deceased, you may also want to check with the immediate family as to their wishes, we are happy to offer advice and guidance in this respect.
Mourners who are in an extremely clinically vulnerable group have been advised that they should minimise their contact with others during the pandemic for their personal protection. However, if you are shielding you may wish to attend the funeral if the service is for a close relative.
Government advice is not to attend a funeral if there are others attending who are self-isolating due to another member of the household being unwell with symptoms of coronavirus, as they could be incubating coronavirus. If a mourner who is extremely clinically vulnerable does attend they should always maintain a distance of 2 metres away from others and consider face masks and gloves.
If you know a vulnerable person is attending a funeral you should:
Yes. There are no restrictions for this and there is no risk of infection at a funeral service from someone who has passed away from Coronavirus. You should be mindful however that close family members who shared the same household may be incubating the virus and social distancing should be maintained.
Most crematoria have web-casting services and this is something that has proved very popular during the lockdown. The family arrange the web casting through Stibbards and Sons Ltd and can then invite family members and friends to view the service by providing them with login details and a password.
If you wish to have a discussion with one of our funeral arrangers, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can talk through yours and your loved one’s needs and discuss how we can best celebrate their life.