The Cooling Beds, which are new to the Australian context of after death care, are an accredited support in allowing families to take their time in those precious and often confusing days immediately following a death. Currently they are available to those people who wish to conduct a vigil or simply keep their family member at home for a while after they have died before you need to engage the services of a Funeral Director. If the death is unexpected then it may become a ‘reportable’ death meaning that the body of your family member or friend may need to go to the Coroner for the cause of death to be determined. in this case, you would engage the services of a local Funeral Director to transport the body back to your home for the vigil to be completed.
The Australian Health Department Regulations allow for families to keep the body of their family member or friend at home for up to 5 days for personal and cultural reasons. Most people wish only to extend their time by a few hours or overnight.
The proviso to this is that the body needs to be supported by keeping the temperature between 1-5 degrees and surrounding area cool.The Cooling beds are custom made for this purpose. If the death took place outside of the home, they allow families to receive the body from their Funeral Director and still take advantage of up to 5 days for their home care or vigil. They have been imported from The Netheralnds where they are a long standing part of After Death Care in that country.
By being able to slow down the process between death and the funeral arrangements, you are literally able to catch your breath and begin the task of knowing what is best for you, your family and community. It also supports a normalising of death by placing it within the home and community context and allows people to literally meet death on their own terms. Not everyone wants to continue the hands on care of their dead. In this case you would simply call the Funeral professionals who would take over the care and preparation for burial or cremation.
The Cooling beds are available for those families who are currently working in death preparation with Life Rites consultants as well as for families to hire for vigils.
Please contact Victoria by email to arrange a consultation where the process and service fees will be discussed.
A Life Rites practitioner will talk you through the set up and use of the cooling beds and how best to support all involved in this time. They will deliver the bed to your home, walk through the preparation of your family member with you and be available to oversee the vigil as needed.
This opportunity to care for our dead is one that comes as our birthright and the cooling beds support this very important time in all of our lives.