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Helpful Articles

Jan 30

Funeral homes ‘run out of room’ for deceased amid staff shortages

Posted by Integrity Funerals

Funeral directors are warning that some have “run out of room” for bodies because of COVID-related staff shortages at crematoriums and cemeteries.

  • Key points:
    The Australian Funeral Directors Association says the Queensland government should classify funeral staff as critical workers
    Close contact requirements are putting strain on all areas of funeral industry staffing
    A Gold Coast business says some funeral homes and crematoriums are at capacity
    Rowan Steer, manager of Integrity Funerals on the Gold Coast, said businesses were being forced to move bodies into the care of competitors as staff isolated, forcing families to wait up to two weeks for funeral services.

Mr Steer said close contact isolation requirements and a lack of accessible rapid tests were causing the industry “a high level of stress”.

The industry is asking for changes to their isolation rules for funeral, mortuary, crematorium, and cemetery services.

The Australian Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) is calling for the Queensland government to “urgently” classify them as critical workers.

Queensland remains the only state not to consider funeral workers exempt from close contact requirements, meaning staff exposed to COVID-19 must quarantine for seven days.

Last week the government announced the addition of other industries to its limited critical industries list, including broadcast and fisheries.

Mr Steer said “urgent” changes were needed.

“We have written to the health department and we are seeking for them to give us critical worker status,” he said.

Mr Steer said the funeral and crematorium industries were facing “big problems”.

“It’s causing enormous delays in the delivery of funeral services … and the performing of service departments like justice department contracts,” he said. .

He said the lack of staff has had flow-on effects.

“I’ve had recent requests from other funeral directors to care for their deceased because they’ve simply run out of room because of the delays and shortages of staff,” he said.

“Funeral directors that are in competition would naturally help one another with such an activity, but it is a very rare thing for people to ask.”


ABC Gold Coast / By Kimberley Bernard
Posted Wed 26 Jan 2022 at 6:57am