MN Home Death Care: Choices Booklet now available

legislationNew Law Gives Minnesotans a Natural Choice for Care of Deceased

The MN Dept. of Health finished updating “Choices,” a 22-page booklet on the disposition of a dead human body. The first paragraph sets the tone nicely: “Death touches everyone eventually, and when it does, there are many important decisions to make. Whether one decides to use a funeral home or care for a loved one independently, there is much to do. This manual addresses the necessary duties, possible choices and legal requirements that must be met when a death occurs.”

History :  Saint Paul, Minnesota – April 2010 Governor Pawlenty  signed into law changes that will give Minnesotans a more natural choice in how they care for their deceased loved ones. The new law permits dry ice to be used for public viewing of a deceased body within private property, such as a home, church or funeral parlor. Said Laine. “Death is a natural and inevitable process, and this law will provide people a more natural way to remember, honor and celebrate the lives of our loved ones.” Laine said embalming first came into use during the Civil War and was used to delay decomposition of bodies that had to travel a great distance before returning to a family. For families who hold funerals or remembrances shortly after a loved one passes away, embalming serves no logical purpose. “Since there is no scientific or biological reason to do embalming in most instances, it makes sense to provide people a ‘greener’ alternative,” said Laine.

Laine worked with stakeholders including the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association to reach consensus on the bill. Hospitals and care providers both support the bill. Laine said she hopes the new law will spark dialogue end of life issues.

“I believe we should be less fearful of death. It’s natural and we should strive to make it a peaceful part of our life process,” said Laine.

The new law went into effect on August 1, 2010.

this 4-minute TV news story on my neighbor’s home funeral could be powerful for your audience. It features the woman who testified before the Minnesota State Legislature and was partly responsible for legislators passing the Home Care of Our Deceased bill last month.