Facing a crisis head on
G7 Mortuary Shipping (G7MS) shares their experience of how they dealt with the fallout from the Covid pandemic in New York, from where they were faced with a 400-per-cent increase in cases, with one family losing three members in the space of 23 days
In 2020, New York City was hit by one of the most significant global crises ever; 8.5 million people were under strict quarantine, more than a million people were infected with Covid-19, and funeral services were left on the verge of collapse. “It was overwhelming to hear calls from people reporting a service,” said Diana, a G7MS Operations Coordinator. By that time, funeral homes were full; clinics, morgues, and containers were overcrowded, and chaos took over the city. Thousands of families anxiously asked about their deceased loved ones, and uncertainty and fear grew. Meanwhile, in the heart of Jackson Heights, the G7 Mortuary Shipping team was faced with a massive increase in death reports. It had to create an Elite team to assist its clients and the clients’ affiliates in preparing and completing all the documentation required by the funeral homes, and thus support their internal processes and streamline their work to avoid a collapse that would force them to shut down.
Funeral homes were forced to dispense with funeral services and ceremonies of any kind
A great challenge In April, we received a call from an affiliate of one of our most important clients, PREXCO REPATRIACION FUNERARIA MULTILATINA (PREXCO MULTILATINO FUNERAL REPATRIATION), reporting the death of his mother due to Covid-19. The body had already been in the hospital for several days, and being unable to see her caused more anguish for the client and his family. Upon receiving the report of this death, we had to act quickly to prevent the hospital from disposing of the body following the procedures in force. Our team activated the protocols for the funeral service, initiating immediate communication to guide and assist the family with the documentation, advancing processes that would allow the funeral home to operate the case more efficiently and prevent the body from remaining there for too long, causing overcrowding. Fourteen days later, the client called us again to report the death of his wife, and eight days later, he called to notify us of the death of his mother-in-law. In summary, in 23 days, this family lost three loved ones, all to Covid-19. Because of the significant increase in the number of deaths from Covid-19 and the growing risk of contagion in New York City, funeral homes were forced to dispense with funeral services and ceremonies of any kind. Therefore, at G7MS, we took it upon ourselves to send a photo of the deceased to the families for identification and reassurance that their loved ones were in our custody and not in a mass grave or refrigerated trucks, alleviating the uncertainty generated by fake news. Because of the restrictions on funeral services, G7 Mortuary Shipping and PREXCO REPATRIACION FUNERARIA MULTILATINA decided to activate the bereavement centre, which included a team of psychologists specialised in managing grief who accompanied the families affected by Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed on expressing the last goodbye to their loved ones. The pandemic and all it caused generated many challenges that had to be faced. Thanks to our 15 years of experience in the sector, we found ways to solve them responsibly and effectively, bringing peace of mind to our clients and their affiliates. Ultimately, it generated an invaluable learning opportunity to adapt to change and improve our operational processes.