Absolutely. We have extensive procedures to ensure the identification and chain of custody of remains. It is of paramount importance in any funeral home, ours included. Here are the key points of those procedures that we use:
At the time of transferring remains into our care, we put an ankle band with the person’s name and information on the body. The person releasing the body into our care – family, nurse, hospital – signs off that they are releasing the specific person to us.
At the care center (crematory), a case number is created and another ankle band matching the first and adding that case number is put on the ankle with the first one.
Prior to cremation, all the documentation and ID bands are reviewed.
A metal disk with a discrete ID matching the paperwork is placed in the cremation chamber with the body. The only thing that survives the cremation process are the bones (ashes) and that metal disk. The bones are processed and placed into a bag that is closed with a tie and that metal disk.
If necessary, you could trace this disk back through the paperwork to see all the details of the process – who transferred the body, at what time, who the cremationist was, even the wind speed at the time of cremation.
The process has been designed to have multiple checks at each stage of the process to maintain the integrity and security of the deceased, ensuring that you receive the exact remains of the person entrusted to our care.
And here is where things sound strange, but I can’t think of a way to put it that doesn’t sound a little bit detached: We have absolutely zero motivation to give you remains that aren’t your loved one, never mind the fact that it is unconscionable. We absolutely care and for that reason, we put every safeguard in place.