After you or a loved one passes, a funeral director takes specific steps to slow down the body's natural decomposition. One of which is called embalming. Embalming in Australia is not mandatory but has its benefits.
In this article, we explain everything you need to know about embalming in Australia and the types of embalming.
What is Embalming?
Embalming is a process to preserve the human body after death to prevent decomposition. The process of embalming delays the natural decomposition of the human body by injecting embalming fluid into the bloodstream.
The practice of embalming has existed in various forms for thousands of years. Today, it's still common practice by funeral directors and a preferred choice by family and loved ones when preserving the deceased's body.
When is embalming required in Australia?
In most cases, embalming is not a requirement by law in Australia. Funeral directors can't force you or a loved one to choose to embalm. Embalming is only a requirement in specific situations, including:
- Burials in a mausoleum, vault, or crypt that are above ground; or
- If the body is being repatriated or moved internationally or across state lines.
However, there are several reasons why families may find it desirable to arrange for partial or full embalming, which includes:
- Make the body more presentable for the funeral visitation
- There will be a long delay between the death and the funeral
What is the process of embalming?
If you or your family chooses to embalm, the Funeral Director will begin the embalming process after receiving the body. The embalming process involves several steps and depends on which type of embalming.
The first step of either process is to thoroughly clean the body with a disinfectant solution. Then its massaged to offset rigor mortis. If you choose arterial embalming, blood is taken from the veins and replaced with embalming fluids through the arteries.
Cavity embalming involves draining the natural fluids from the chest and abdomen through a tiny incision. Then, the embalming solution restores the fluids, and the small incision is closed. After completing the embalming process, the body undergoes cosmetic care, including bathing, dressing and grooming.
What is partial embalming?
Partial embalming is similar to complete embalming but only improves the deceased’s appearance for a few days. However, partial embalming is significantly faster and the chemicals used are not as harsh.
Should you choose to embalm?
While embalming is not a requirement in Australia, there are a few reasons someone might choose to embalm. These include the following:
- Allows more time for reconstructive techniques if the deceased was in an accident
- It can bring comfort to loved ones and help in processing grief
Embalming in Australia is not necessary if you choose cremation. However, it’s essential to have an open and honest discussion about their wishes when deciding whether they want cremation or a burial.
Make your funeral wishes known by writing your Will online and sharing it with your executor.