Bringing someone home before their funeral — What you need to know

Coffin in a house by window

Three minute read

In many cultures, bringing someone home before their funeral is an important part of the process of saying goodbye.

Here, we answer some common questions about what happens and explain what you need to know. Whatever your reasons, we support anyone who wants to bring someone home before their funeral.

Why bring someone home before the funeral?

People often know this is something they want to do and ask us if it is possible. It could be because their person wanted to die at home, but had to be taken into hospital, or because this is something that they always felt was important.

There are also cultural reasons why you might want to bring someone home. For example, in Hindu culture, saying prayers at home over the person who has died and laying flowers at their feet is an important part of the funeral rituals and an act of respect.

How long can we bring someone home for?

This is entirely up to you. We can bring someone home for an hour before the funeral for people to say their last goodbyes, or for a day, a night or even longer.

At Poppy’s, we charge a single fee for bringing someone home, regardless of how long they spend there before their funeral.

Will the coffin be open or closed?

This is your choice. We’ll support you in whatever you decide and make sure a suitable coffin is chosen. For example, we recently brought someone home wrapped in a shroud, which their family could partially unwrap themselves however they wished.

Before the visit, we’ll explain to you about any natural changes you may see to the person’s body and answer any questions, so that you know what to expect.

If someone has died of Covid-19, the coffin will need to be closed, but we can still bring them home to you.

Are there any practical considerations to bear in mind?

There are some simple things you can do to look after the person’s body while they are back home. It’s important to keep windows shut and the air in the room as cool as possible.

We can bring trestles to rest the coffin on if you need them, but if you have a solid table that you’d like to use, that does the job just as well.

Most importantly, we’ll talk with you about the space available and how best to access it. Before we bring someone home, we’ll need to be aware of any tight corners, steps or places where manoeuvring a coffin might be difficult. We might ask you for photos or descriptions to help us plan a safe route.

With a bit of creative thinking, it’s usually possible to make anything work, even if we might have to use a window if a door is too narrow, or bring someone through a side gate into the garden if we cannot get into the house.

We’ll always talk through all the options with you before making any decisions, and we welcome practical help and suggestions from friends and family.

Find out more about caring for someone who has died at home or what happens on a collection.

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