Home-Based Death Care

What is home-based death care?

Whether you live in Melbourne, Country Victoria, the Surf Coast Region or beyond, with our carefully selected equipment we can support your decision to care for your family member in your own home. By keeping your person’s body cool, you can comfortably care for them yourself, knowing we are right there with you, supporting you through every step.

Taking all the time you need to adjust to the death and to gently begin the preparation of your person’s body for the funeral. With our gentle assistance, you can wash, dress, and prepare them in your own time and in your own way. Our professional team can be as involved as much or as little as you desire.

We are on-call 24 hours a day if you require urgent assistance with the care of your person.

Traditional Healing

Home-based death care is not morbid and it’s not scary. It can be a most beautiful time of peace after what may have been a challenging experience.

For centuries, we cared for our people from before birth to after death in our homes and in our communities. It‘s a natural process of loving and caring for our tribe and in some cultures, it still remains as current practice.

In Australia, like a lot of the western world, we moved away from this practice in the last century. We have outsourced caring for our deceased to funeral companies where spaces can feel sterile and hard in contrast to comfortable and familiar home environments.

At Natural Grace, we encourage you to reconnect with the practice of caring for your person in the home. There is some deep healing and acceptance that occurs when you can spend sacred time caring for them; bathing them, brushing their hair, dressing them, caring for them as you may have always done…or never had the chance to do.

Funeral Ceremony

Equipment

We offer you support and guidance, along with mortuary-level specialised cooling equipment, so you can care for your person.

The purpose of our cooling equipment is to aid in maintaining their physical condition. Our cooling blanket system can be used in any setting and your person will look like they are snuggled in their bed. A quiet compressor by the side of the bed maintains mortuary level of care.  We will check in with you regularly to ensure that you feel supported while also being conscious of not interrupting your space and time.

If your person did not die at home, they can be transferred into your home where you can nurture and care for them. Your family and friends, your community can surround you all with much love.  You can undertake celebrations, vigils, ceremonies – all within the comfort of your environment.

What do I do?

  • Ideally we will already be aware of your need for our cooling blanket equipment.
  • Have a cup of tea and sit with your person after they have died for as long as you need. It’s good to make contact with us after about 2 hours or less if that suits you.
  • When you are ready, call Palliative Care and they will visit to verify your person’s death and to arrange the medical certification.
  • Call the Natural Grace Team on 03 5561 1199 when the time feels right. Please allow at least 90 minutes for us to get to your location with the equipment.

What don’t I do?

  • Don’t call an ambulance or the police – there is no need for their involvement in an expected death.
  • Don’t feel rushed – there is no hurry and no-one should push you to do anything you’re not comfortable with.

 

Body care

  • Roll up a towel under the chin to close your person’s mouth.
  • Place an ice pack on their stomach, underneath their neck (and under lower back if possible).
  • Feel comfortable to touch and hold them.
  • Wash and dress as desired.
  • When you aren’t with your person, cover their face to deter flies and insects.