Columbia, South Carolina


TO:             All Organizational Components

SUBJECT: Funeral Policies and Procedures


The purpose of this directive is to establish the funeral procedure to be followed when a deceased patient of the SCDMH has no known relatives or when the relatives of the deceased do not arrange for a funeral elsewhere.


It is the policy of the SCDMH that, through its Chaplaincy Service, a dignified and appropriate graveside funeral will be provided at "The Village Memorial Gardens" for a deceased patient whose relatives do not claim the body.


A. When it is known that the body will not be claimed, the Medical Records Office of the facility concerned will notify the Chaplaincy Service of the facility so that a funeral service may be planned.

B. The Chaplaincy Service of the facility will plan the funeral service according to the following administrative procedures:

1. The Chaplaincy will schedule a staff chaplain to conduct the funeral.

2. Chaplaincy will coordinate with SCDMH Grounds Maintenance Section an appropriate time to prepare the grave and to conduct the funeral.

3. The Chaplaincy Service will coordinate with the contracted funeral director the time of the funeral in order that the funeral director may secure the body from the morgue of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

4. The Chaplaincy Service will provide to the Procurement Section the necessary information on the proper form that will enable Procurement to obtain an appropriate marker that shall measure 8" in height, 6" in width, and 24" in length. The marker will be engraved with the name, date of birth, and date of death of the deceased.

5. The Chaplaincy Service will ensure that the deceased patient is dressed in proper attire.

6. The casket will not be opened prior to or during the funeral service.

7. Immediately following the funeral set-vice, the Chaplain who conducted the service will sign the completed Form M-104 located in the facility's Medical Records Office.

8. After the funeral service, the Chaplain will send a pastoral letter to the correspondent of the deceased in order to express condolence and to provide information about location of the grave marker.

C. The SCDMH Grounds Maintenance Section has the responsibility of preparing the graves for burial, closing the graves after burial, placing grave markers, and maintaining the cemeteries.

D. Notices of these aforementioned deaths will be placed in the local newspaper by the funeral director, not to reveal the location of the death, but only to "contact funeral director for information about funeral arrangements."

E. The Chaplaincy Service will use its discretion in determining whether to conduct a Memorial Service for the deceased with the facility staff and friends.. When such a service is planned, staff members may attend with supervisory approval.


The SCDMH Pastoral Services Consultant is responsible for ensuring that all facility Chaplains are aware of and conform to the policies and procedures outlined in this directive.

This directive supersedes SCDMH Directive No. 672-85 entitled "Funeral Policies and Procedures."


                                                                                                    Joseph Bevilacqua

June 4, 1986