Moving into niche death care

Foundation Partners why I partnered

Today’s Funeral Director Daily feature will have a decidedly Minnesota bent to it.  We are going to tell you of Angela Woosley, a mortician and recently a senior teaching specialist at the University of Minnesota who has decided to leave the academic world and pursue her own business that will provide alternative end-of-life options for clients, legacy project planning, and planning for in-home vigils and funerals.

And, we will tell you a little bit about the state’s readiness when it comes to COVID-19 and what officials say will soon be the peak season for the virus in Minnesota.

First, about Angela Woosley.  MinnPost recently did a feature article on Ms. Woosley that you can read here.  Through both my membership in the State’s funeral director association and as an alumni/board member of the University of Minnesota I have came to know Angela.  She has been a terrific instructor and role model to the University of Minnesota Program of Mortuary Science students and has been an incredible ambassador for the funeral profession at large, as well.

In the article you can read how Ms. Woosley has came to be inspired by a more natural approach to end-of-life care.  She talks about end-of-life care, and I’ll use her quote, “You’ve been caring for mom all this time, maybe hospice comes in and helps, but she’s still your mom.  Then, when she dies, all of the sudden strangers in suits come in (and) whisk her away.  It almost feels like they own her.”

Woosley continues, “These strangers, known as funeral directors, take control of your loved one and how they will be memorialized.  They control when you can see her, when you can spend time with her, when you can mourn with her.  That never really made sense to me.  Nobody owns anybody — living or dead.”

Finally, Woosley says, “To me there is some beauty in giving families permission to do what they already had permission to do anyway — to be able to partner with them in the transition from this world to the next and to not have to worry about grieving on command.”

Funeral Director take:  Sometimes, as a traditional funeral director it is difficult to see that some people feel that traditional services are too controlled by funeral directors.  I’m one that thinks that if that does happen the laws of business and survival of the fittest will eventually work out. . . .however, with that process, it is probably true that some families don’t get exactly what they thought they were getting.

I also think we, as a profession, have been moving, and continue to move,  the death care businesses into a wide variety of accepted options with many choices available between a simple direct cremation and a full blown traditional casketed service that includes earth burial.

Options for consumers are great.  I’m glad I have them when I shop for a car or even for a cup of coffee.  It’s part of the American way and if there is a market for your services then you will succeed.  If there is no market, you won’t . . . .it’s that simple.  And, I do think there is a market for what is being called a “death doula” to succeed in this day and age.  Here is an article that Funeral Director Daily actually did on an educational certificate degree in just that occupation.

As a matter of fact, the line where “health care” and “death care”  as to who takes care of the continuum of care when a patient turns into a “deceased body” may soon blur.  Funeral Director Daily has done an article that you can read here on that continuum of care.

Minnesota and COVID-19:  Today, as a licensed mortician in the state of Minnesota I received an e-mail about Minnesota Emergency Executive Order 20-32.  In preparation for the peak of COVID-19 in Minnesota it states the following relaxation of Minnesota Statutes that pertain to mortuary science.  Here is the new guidance on what funeral homes may do:

  • Have their trained, unlicensed employees, or alternatively, hire and have emergency responders remove and transport deceased persons to the funeral homes.
  • Hire morticians in good standing from other states and to those with emeritus status, provided they have a temporary license issued by MDH.
  • Have extended time to process their renewal applications and fees, while waiving late fees.
  • Allow interns and morticians who apply by reciprocity to start working before they pass the state exam and the national exam, and to submit case reports on duties related to cremation, alkaline hydrolysis, or other COVID-19 related duties.  

State of Minnesota buys refrigerated warehouse in preparation for COVID-19 peak:  Here you can read an article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press concerning the $6.9 million purchase of a refrigerated warehouse for storage of human remains, which the Legislative COVID-19 Response Commission authorized.

Upcoming WebinarForgiveness and the Future:  SBA Loans and the Opportunity to Thrive.  This webinar brought to us by Johnson Consulting Group is open to all.  It deals with the latest PPP forgivenesss updates and changes imparting the death care profession and how funeral home owners can strategically plan for their futures.  Nelson Thulin of Johnson Consulting Group and Stephanie C. Dunn of Incredible Bank are the presenters.  Friday, June 5.  2 pm Eastern Time, 1 pm Central Time, 11 am Mountain Standard Time

More from the world of Death Care:

Receive Funeral Director Daily posts by email
Never miss a Funeral Director Daily article. Submit this form and we'll send you every post by email.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.