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  • Funerals

    While it may seem confronting to discuss funeral arrangements with families before their child has died, many parents will benefit from having time to think about this as there is quite a lot of planning and work involved in organising a funeral. Older children may have wishes regarding their own funeral and it is important these are sought and respected wherever possible. The family may wish to speak with a number of funeral directors before deciding on the one they feel most comfortable with. It is worth noting that families do not necessarily need to engage a funeral director if they wish to make all the arrangements themselves. The guidance and advice of a funeral director is highly recommended particularly in regard to the preservation of the body. Many funeral directors are supportive of parents who choose to retain control of their child's funeral planning and are willing to take a purely advisory role if that is a family's wish.

    A funeral is an opportunity for family and friends to express feelings of love and grief and it is important the family feel in control of this process. This is the last physical act parents can do for their child. They may need encouragement and support to achieve a service that meets their needs. Extended family members may act with the best of intentions (protecting parents from burden/trauma) to arrange the funeral but this may be regretted by the parents later on. It is important to note that while there are legal requirements around burial and cremation it is not a legal requirement that a funeral service be held. It is also essential that families take time to think about what they want.

    A range of options are available and there a variety of individuals who may assist the family in planning a funeral. For example

    • Social Workers
    • Funeral Directors*
    • Hospital Chaplains
    • Religious leaders in the local community
    • Palliative Care services
    • The Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program keeps information packs for families (contact us)

    The Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program is also able to offer assistance.
    *The Australian Funeral Directors Association (A.F.D.A) provides helpful information for families and can be contacted on 9859 9571.