The Difference Between a Mortuary and a Funeral Home


People often confuse mortuaries and funeral homes. They are similar in some ways, but they have different business models. Mortuaries are typically larger than funeral homes and provide more services.

They focus on mortuary sciences and preparation of the body for burial or cremation. They also offer grief counseling and other important tasks like death registration and obituary writing.

A morgue or mortuary is a place used for the storage of human corpses awaiting identification.

Most adults have seen depictions of morgues in movies and TV, but these are usually not accurate portrayals. Morgues are typically located within or adjacent to hospitals and medical centers, but they can also be found in retirement homes and hospice care facilities.

Morgues are designed to preserve and protect bodies until they can be identified. They are typically refrigerated to slow down decomposition.

The terms morgue and mortuary are often used interchangeably, but context plays a role in which term is appropriate. For example, in a medical context, a morgue is a place where autopsies are performed. In contrast, a funeral home is not considered to be a morgue because it does not perform autopsies.

In an emergency, any refrigerated space spacious enough to accommodate a body can act as a temporary morgue. However, most local governments have special facilities, such as ice rinks, that are designed to serve as emergency morgues in the event of a disaster.

A waiting mortuary is a mortuary building designed specifically for the purpose of confirming that deceased persons are truly deceased.

Before today’s methods of verifying death, people often feared that they might be buried alive. This led to the invention of waiting mortuaries, which were often ornate halls staffed with attendants who watched for signs of life and allowed corpses to decompose partially before burial. These were especially popular in 19th century Germany.

The body begins to decompose around four minutes after the heart stops. This is the first indication that the person is truly dead. Observations of the corpse a few hours later may also be helpful, as stiffening (rigor mortis) indicates that the person has been dead for some time.

In the past, some morgues became macabre spectacles, with crowds lining up to see the unidentified bodies. Even after this era of voyeuristic obsession, many people are still very uncomfortable when asked to identify a loved one’s body. Some flinch, gasp, or pass out. Others simply refuse to look. For these reasons, morgue staff carefully control the conditions in their viewing rooms to minimize shock and distress for visitors.

A funeral home is a mortuary.

A funeral home is a business that provides services for the dead and their families. It is usually a large and profitable industry that employs a wide range of people, including morticians, pathologists, and embalmers. A funeral home may also offer a variety of other services, such as memorialization and burial.

The main difference between a mortuary and a funeral home is that a funeral home has the ability to hold viewings and services while a mortuary cannot. This is because a funeral home has larger areas where services can be held and public viewings can occur.

A funeral home is also more adept at planning a service and providing memorialization products, such as caskets and urns. They may also be able to arrange for a cremation facility if the family wishes. They also help to write and publish obituaries in newspapers. By law, funeral homes must provide a general price list that clearly states their prices for all regularly offered services and merchandise.

An embalming facility is a mortuary.

A mortuary is a place that prepares dead bodies for burial or cremation. It is often located in a hospital or medical facility. Mortuaries may also be privately owned. The mortuary industry provides many jobs. It is a large and profitable business. Mortuaries are sometimes used as training centers for funeral directors and embalmers.

Embalming is a process that involves the use of chemicals. It includes glycerol, which softens tissues and prevents them from drying out; alcohol, to facilitate penetration; 2.5 percent phenol, an antifungal agent; eosin, which improves color; and sodium acetate, an anticoagulant. The process takes several hours to complete.

Unlike a morgue, a mortuary can offer direct services such as a quick viewing for immediate family members and on-site cremation. This can be beneficial to families because it is less expensive than a full-service funeral home. In addition, mortuaries may offer limited onsite memorialization services. These differences make it important for consumers to understand the difference between a mortuary and a morgue.

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