What Happens at the Funeral Home?

Updated April 17, 2017

Funeral homes are run by funeral directors, who may also be referred to as morticians. These professionals are responsible for embalming the deceased's body and presenting it for public viewing, as well as orchestrating the funeral and burial arrangements.


When there will be a public viewing, the body of the deceased is embalmed. During this process, the blood is drained from the body and replaced with preservative agents.

Preparation for Viewing

After being embalmed, the descedant's body is prepared for viewing by washing and styling the hair and applying make-up that is designed to simulate the natural look of a living individual.

Family Consultations

The funeral director consults with family members to help them make funeral, visitation and burial arrangements. The deceased's family may make choices regarding caskets or cremation urns, service preferences and other options during this consultation.

Cleaning and Sanitation

The funeral director or an embalmer is responsible for keeping the preparation (embalming) room clean and sanitary, disinfecting all tools and disposing of biohazardous waste in accordance with health and safety regulations.

Funeral Services and Viewing

Viewings are usually held in a funeral home with the body in an open casket. Typically, there are chapel-like rooms that are used only for this purpose. A small service may be held in conjunction with the viewing.


Some funeral homes offer cremation of human remains on the premises, while others contract out with a cremation service. During cremation, the deceased's body is placed in a very hot oven, which reduces it to ashes in minutes.

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About the Author

Dayna is a freelance writer, artist and former high school teacher. She has been writing professionally for three years, and hold degrees in physical anthropology, art and special education. Her particular areas of interest include anthropology, health and nutrition, fitness and beauty and skin care.