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UPDATED RECOMMENDATION 05.27.2020
Ohio Funeral Directors Association Urges Member Funeral Homes to Follow Best Practices in Response to COVID-19Pandemic
The Ohio Funeral Directors Association (OFDA) remains committed to providing our membership with resources that ensure the health and well-being of funeral professionals, as well as the families they compassionately serve. A safe environment to work and gather in is vital to limiting the spread of COVID-19 among staff and the public. As Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health continue to loosen the restrictions on businesses, your client families may wish to broaden attendance at visitations and funeral services. Although funerals remain exempt on mass gatherings, funeral homes must keep social distancing restrictions in mind when setting gathering size limits. The updated recommended procedures are listed below.
•Establish separate funeral home entry and exit doorways.
•Post signs at entrances listing virus symptoms and request those feeling the effects to pay their respects in an alternate manner (i.e. email, written note, phone call to family).
•Educate families and visitors on best practices for social distancing and viral control etiquette (i.e. no hugging, kissing or shaking of hands; creating personal space of 6’; cough into crook of elbow).
•Utilize rope and stanchion to aid in visitor flow and barrier for family, if desired.
•Social distancing of at least six-feet separation must be adhered to. It is not necessary to separate family members who reside in same household.
•Separate chapel chairs for the safety of each attendee.
•Conduct smallfuneral services, based on proper social distancing in your funeral home facility.
•Place hand sanitizing stations throughout funeral home.
•Limit public calling hours. Provide separate time frame for elderly or immune compromised visitors.
•All funeral home employees must wear face coverings, unless exempted by a medical, safety or practicality concern. Document exemption and maintain in employee file for verification, if challenged.
•Funeral home visitors are encouraged to wear a face covering, unless specifically documented legal, life, health or safety considerations and limited documented security considerations exist. Funeral homes are not required to provide families/visitors masks, but if supplies can be obtained distribution of masks is encouraged.
•Temporarily cease catering, food, drinks andreceptions. If applicable, removecandy or novelty giftto keep hands from gravitating to a central dish.
•Restrict access to common areas, such as lounge or reception hall to prevent congregation.
•Offer to record and/or live stream events for increased visitor inclusion (music and web casting license available to all funeral homes regardless of membership status through NFDA).
•At-need and preneed arrangement conferences should be made via telephone calls or other electronic means. In person arrangements should be limited to two people.
•Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize
The Survivors of Suicide Support Group meets the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Amy Levin Conference Center, 1165 N. Ridge Rd, Lorain. For more information, please contact Robin Hale, LOSS Coordinator, by calling (440) 204-4268 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Compassionate Friends, a national organization, has expanded to include a local chapter. The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive. Linda Appeman of Vermilion is coordinator and can be reached at 440-963-7214. Visit The Compassionate Friends National website at compassionatefriends.org.
Social Security Announces "Compassionate Allowances" Program Compassionate Allowances is an initiative that will allow all Social Security offices to expedite disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe or serious that they obviously meet disability standards. This decision process is based on a current list of 50 medical conditions that will qualify as an impairment and will allow Social Security to act quickly (in a matter of days rather than months or years) in processing and approval for disability income assistance. These conditions and more information can be found at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances/. Additional information on Seniors and aging can be accessed through the Senior Series, a list of pertinent fact sheets located on the Ohio University Extension Office website at http://ohioline.osu.edu/SS-FACT/INDEX.HTML
The Department of Veterans Affairs is making available a new medallion to be affixed to an existing privately purchased headstone or marker to signify the deceased's status as a veteran. This benefit is only applicable if the grave is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. In these instances, eligible veterans are entitled to either a traditional Government-furnished headstone or marker, or the new medallion, but not both. For more information go to www.cem.va.gov/hm_hm.asp or call the funeral chapel and one of our staff can assist you.
Social Security Improves Website The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently unveiled a redesigned Website that is more welcoming and user-friendly. New features include: • SSA created five headings at the top of the homepage representing each of the programs it administers, including “Survivors” and “Supplemental Security Income.” • Links to tools for “Filing Online for Retirement Benefits,” “Applying for Disability Benefits” and “Requesting a Social Security Card” are highlighted on the home page. These tools will help reduce or eliminate trips to local Social Security offices. • A brief video greeting, delivered by an SSA employee, will help many people, including those with certain visual disabilities, navigate the redesigned Website. • People who are already receiving benefits can easily find information, services and schedules of payments. • Visitors will find an online “Retirement Estimator” that will allow them to get an immediate and personal estimate of their potential Social Security retirement benefits and help them plan for retirement.