Funeral homes are taking extreme safety measures due to the COVID-19 virus by following the strict guidelines of the CDC and maintaining compassion, love, and empathy to families who are preparing funeral services for their loved ones. Brian P. Pickett, the founder of The Brian P. Pickett Funeral Group, located in Chicago for 17 years, takes his job very seriously. “People are paranoid and scared, but we are too, we are in this together. These are the times when you come together to create a solution to protect yourself, as well as your family, and still provide a service with compassion and provide for your family on what they need,” says Pickett.
Pickett has daily meetings with his staff to discuss any concerns they may have to make sure they are comfortable and safe. Pickett has had two COVID-19 cases. With one family in quarantine, for the safety of his funeral directors, most of the arrangements were provided over the phone, until the results came back negative to meet with the family. Pickett’s embalmers have to wear a full-body kit that covers from head to toe, with a face shield and N95 mask, so they don’t endanger or risk of getting the virus and the immediate disposal in the reciprocal and making sure there is hand sanitizer in the sanctuary.
Arranging funeral services for families who lost their loved ones to the virus can be overwhelming and sensitive. “While being compassionate to the families, I have to do what the Executive Order has enforced, and that is during funeral services practicing social distancing and limiting the guest to 10 people. It’s hard to sit while families are having to decide who they are going to allow to come to the service and who cannot. That is hard to do because it can become more stressful, but the families have been respectful,” says Pickett. During visitation, Pickett does allow individuals to come and view the body, but they have to leave the sanctuary.
There are precautions that Pickett has in place if a guest or family member may be experiencing signs of sickness during the funeral service. “I have laser thermometers on-hand. If someone is coughing, sneezing out of control, or sweating profusely, I ask them if we can take their temperature. I then notify the immediate family that a guest may be sick and ask them to go to the doctor versus remaining at the funeral services,” Pickett says.
Pickett’s top priority is providing comfort for the families. It concerns him when he receives calls that some funeral homes are being insensitive and using the pandemic as a crutch to provide fewer services at higher prices. Pickett says, “For me, it’s not about the money. Families come to me for a reason, and that is being there and providing what they need because they entrust in me to treat them like they are my own family.”
The Brian P. Pickett Funeral Group launched a Q&A video on its Facebook page in regards to planning funeral services during the coronavirus pandemic. Please click on the link below at https://www.facebook.com/thepickettfuneralgroup/.