THANOS magazine

Sweden | December 14, 2022

Competence gives our profession the credibility it needs

By Ulf Lernéus, Headmanager, CEO of Swedish Funeral Directors Association

Relying on the services of an authorized funeral home means security for the family at a difficult time. In Sweden, in order to be able to call yourself and market yourself as an Authorized Funeral Home, it is a basic requirement that all employees at the funeral home have completed basic training. From the moment someone becomes a new employee, basic training must be completed within 1 year.

The basic training is 5 full days where we go through: the responsibilities of the principal and the funeral director, our role as an employee in the agency, dress code. The total cost for one person is about 3 000 Euro.

The training covers such topics as: how we act as a private person and ambassador, the multicultural society, the representative at a funeral, arranging and dressing the deceased in the coffin, good funeral customs and professional ethics, insurances, funeral of a child and attendance of a child at a funeral, laws, regulations and GDPR, complaints procedures, family law, transports, mortuary, examination.

In order to maintain the authorization, it is required to attend continuing education at least every 5 years. The pandemic has not changed much in our training, the only thing that has changed is that we have more digital education.

These are the rules we had for those who are in business. For those who work at Swedish Funeral Homes and are authorized by Swedish Funeral Directors Association, but if someone wants to start a Funeral Home in Sweden, then there are no educational requirements. So they don't need to know anything. There are no standards and specific requirements for the funeral industry. The Swedish Funeral Directors Association has been striving to define and implement these requirements since 1922, when it was established.

Currently, there are more than 400 authorized funeral homes in Sweden, many of which also practise family law. They assist with all matters related to the death of a loved one - arranging the funeral in all aspects such as care of the deceased, transport, ceremonies, memorial service and burial. But also the care of graves, registration of assets, outstanding insurance, etc. Being an authorized funeral home also means price transparency for all products and services. Information on the price of products and services or the basis for the method of setting the price is easily accessible at the point of sale. The price list must include funerals at different price levels to facilitate the customer's choice when comparing the price levels of different funerals and different funeral agencies. Authorisation also means specific customer relations policies. The authorized funeral home operates in accordance with the ethical principles adopted by the SBF Board of Directors, as well as the Basic Ethical Principles for Funeral Companies, which the SBF has accepted through its membership of the EFFS (European Federation of Funeral Services). High standards also apply to marketing and communication. We take great care to ensure that they are not intrusive and fully respect the emotions of the loved ones of the deceased.

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