September 25, 2021 | 2:02 p.m.
MANILA, Philippines – A memorial service company has explained how it handles deaths from COVID-19 now that the country has nearly 39,000 deaths from COVID-19.
In an interview with Philstar.comAnnette Estacion, general manager of Nacional Chapels & Crematory, said they were following a strict protocol set by the Department of Health.
“There is a strict protocol for COVID deaths outlined by the DOH and we ensure 100% compliance. This includes not contacting exposed family members, wearing PPE [personal protective equipment] for all our staff during the recovery of the deceased and cremation, and for the deceased to go directly to the cremation, opening body bags and viewing the remains is strictly prohibited, ”she said.
“We are also equipped with contactless settlement options for our customers to minimize face-to-face contact with close contacts. For deaths unrelated to COVID, we follow our existing processes supplemented by minimum public health standards, hygiene protocols and contactless payment options. Funeral vigils are also limited to members of the immediate family, ”she added.
Lilith De Leon, general manager of The Chapels at Heritage Park, said the funeral industry was also suffering from the pandemic.
“Like most businesses, the funeral home was hit early in the pandemic, with movement of people and mass gatherings restricted due to quarantine restrictions. However, as the last front line of this pandemic, we continue to give comfort to those who have lost loved ones, whether due to COVID or other causes, ”she said.
“Over the past 18 months, with authorized immediate family awakenings for non-COVID-related deaths and our commitment to providing care and comfort to our clients, we are able to continue to serve Filipino families in their offering a place for their last farewells and to share in their celebration of life during the last days with their departed loved ones. COVID deaths have also increased our number of cremation services over the past 18 months, ”she added.
The funeral service said it is also offering its employees protection against the dreaded virus.
“We provide all PPE to our employees and crew who come into contact with the deceased. These include our drivers, embalmers and crews who pick up the deceased at the hospital or at the residence. In addition to the regular tetanus and hepatitis vaccination, we have also achieved 100% COVID vaccination for all of our employees. We perform testing and contact tracing for employees who are close contacts of positive cases, ”said Lia Enriquez, President and CEO of Rosehills Memorial Management Philippines Inc.
Nacional, one of the pioneering names in the Philippine memorial service industry, has opened the doors to its new, state-of-the-art building on its former location along Araneta Avenue in Quezon City.
Along with the renaming of Nacional Memorial Homes to Nacional Chapels and Crematory, the multi-million peso center sets new industry standards and redefines memorial services with a contemporary aesthetic typically only seen in hotels. and condominiums and rarely, if ever, in memorial homes. .