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Mortuary Science: Decedent vs. Deceased (Terminology Explained)

Discover the surprising difference between decedent and deceased in mortuary science terminology.

Mortuary Science: Decedent vs Deceased (Terminology Explained)
Step Action Novel Insight Risk Factors
Step 1 Understand the difference between "decedent" and "deceased". "Decedent" refers to a person who has recently passed away and is in the care of a funeral home or mortuary, while "deceased" is a more general term that can refer to anyone who has died. None
Step 2 Learn about the embalming process. Embalming is the process of preserving a body for viewing and funeral arrangements. It involves draining the blood and replacing it with embalming fluid, as well as setting the features of the face and hands. Some people may have religious or personal objections to embalming.
Step 3 Understand the importance of funeral arrangements. Funeral arrangements are an important part of the grieving process and can help provide closure for loved ones. They can include services such as viewings, wakes, and memorial services. Some people may not have the financial means to afford traditional funeral arrangements.
Step 4 Learn about the death certificate. A death certificate is an official document that lists the cause of death and other important information about the deceased. It is typically required for legal and administrative purposes. Some people may have difficulty obtaining a death certificate if the cause of death is unclear or if there are legal disputes surrounding the death.
Step 5 Understand the purpose of an autopsy report. An autopsy report is a detailed examination of the body that can help determine the cause of death and provide important information for medical research. It is typically performed by a medical examiner or forensic pathologist. Some people may object to autopsies for religious or personal reasons.
Step 6 Learn about cremation services. Cremation is an alternative to traditional burial that involves burning the body and collecting the ashes. It can be a more affordable and environmentally friendly option. Some people may have religious or personal objections to cremation.
Step 7 Understand the different burial options. Burial options can include traditional casket burials, green burials, and mausoleum entombment. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. Some people may have difficulty affording traditional burial options.
Step 8 Learn about grief counseling. Grief counseling can provide support and guidance for those who are struggling with the loss of a loved one. It can be an important part of the healing process. Some people may not have access to grief counseling services or may not feel comfortable seeking help.


  1. What is the Difference Between “Decedent” and “Deceased” in Mortuary Science Terminology?
  2. How to Make Funeral Arrangements for a Loved One Who Has Passed Away
  3. What Information Can Be Found in an Autopsy Report and Why Is It Important?
  4. Comparing Different Burial Options: Which is Right for Your Loved One?
  5. Common Mistakes And Misconceptions
  6. Related Resources

What is the Difference Between “Decedent” and “Deceased” in Mortuary Science Terminology?

Step Action Novel Insight Risk Factors
1 Understand the terms Decedent refers to a person who has passed away, while deceased is a more general term for someone who has died None
2 Understand the industry The funeral industry, also known as the death care profession, encompasses a range of services related to death and funerals None
3 Understand the services Services provided by the industry include embalming, cremation, burial arrangements, grief counseling, and memorialization options None
4 Understand the professionals Morticians and funeral directors are professionals who work in the industry and assist families with funeral planning and arrangements None
5 Understand the planning process Funeral planning involves selecting a casket, making pre-need arrangements, and deciding on memorialization options None
6 Understand the differences Decedent is a more formal term used in legal and medical contexts, while deceased is a more general term used in everyday language None

How to Make Funeral Arrangements for a Loved One Who Has Passed Away

Step Action Novel Insight Risk Factors
1 Contact a funeral home or mortuary Funeral homes and mortuaries are licensed and regulated by the state Be aware of potential scams or unlicensed businesses
2 Decide on burial or cremation Cremation is becoming more popular due to its lower cost and environmental impact Religious or cultural beliefs may dictate burial
3 Choose a casket, urn, or vault There are a variety of options available at different price points Be aware of potential upselling by funeral home staff
4 Plan a viewing or visitation This can provide closure for loved ones and allow for final goodbyes Some people may find this too emotionally difficult
5 Arrange for a funeral procession Pallbearers can be chosen to carry the casket and a car procession can follow to the burial site Traffic or weather conditions may affect the procession
6 Obtain a death certificate and obituary The death certificate is required for legal purposes and the obituary can be published in local newspapers Errors on the death certificate can cause delays
7 Consider pre-planning or pre-arrangements This can alleviate stress for loved ones and ensure the deceased‘s wishes are carried out Pre-planning may not be feasible in sudden or unexpected deaths
8 Seek grief counseling or support groups Grief is a natural process and seeking support can help with the healing process Some people may not feel comfortable seeking outside help
9 Follow cultural or religious customs Different cultures and religions have specific customs and traditions surrounding death and funerals Not following these customs may cause offense or disrespect
10 Budget for funeral costs and expenses Funerals can be expensive and it’s important to plan accordingly Unexpected expenses may arise during the planning process

Note: It’s important to remember that funeral arrangements can be a difficult and emotional process. It’s okay to take time to make decisions and seek support from loved ones or professionals.

What Information Can Be Found in an Autopsy Report and Why Is It Important?

Step Action Novel Insight Risk Factors
1 Autopsy report includes information on the manner of death, toxicology report, medical history, external examination, and internal examination. The manner of death refers to the cause and circumstances of death, while the toxicology report identifies any drugs or toxins present in the body. The medical history provides information on the decedent‘s health and any pre-existing conditions. The external examination includes a physical examination of the body, while the internal examination involves dissecting the body to examine the organs and tissues. The information in the autopsy report can be graphic and disturbing for some readers.
2 The report also includes identification information, photographs, and the postmortem interval (PMI). Identification information includes the decedent‘s name, age, and other identifying details. Photographs may be included to document injuries or other findings. The PMI refers to the time between death and the examination. Some readers may find the inclusion of photographs or PMI to be insensitive or unnecessary.
3 The autopsy report may also include tissue samples and a histopathology report. Tissue samples may be taken for further analysis, while the histopathology report provides information on the microscopic examination of tissues. Some readers may not be familiar with the term "histopathology" or the importance of microscopic examination.
4 The autopsy report is important for determining the cause and manner of death, as well as for legal and medical purposes. The information in the report can be used in criminal investigations, medical research, and to issue a death certificate. Some readers may not be aware of the legal and medical implications of an autopsy report.
5 The report is also important for providing closure to the decedent’s family and loved ones. The information in the report can help family members understand the circumstances of their loved one‘s death and provide a sense of closure. Some readers may not be aware of the emotional impact of an autopsy report on family members.

Comparing Different Burial Options: Which is Right for Your Loved One?

Step Action Novel Insight Risk Factors
1 Determine the type of burial desired Natural burial is a growing trend that emphasizes eco-friendliness and simplicity Some cemeteries may not offer natural burial options
2 Choose a burial container Biodegradable urns are a sustainable option for cremated remains Traditional caskets can be expensive and may not align with eco-friendly values
3 Decide on a burial location Mausoleum entombment provides a unique above-ground option Limited availability and high cost may be a barrier for some
4 Consider additional services Home funerals allow for a more personalized and intimate experience Legal requirements and lack of professional guidance may be challenging
5 Plan for memorialization Scattering ashes at sea or in a special location can provide a meaningful tribute Permission and permits may be required
6 Research cemetery regulations Grave liners and vaults may be required for traditional burials Additional costs may be incurred
7 Budget for expenses Direct cremation/burial can be a cost-effective option Limited opportunity for traditional funeral services
8 Consult with loved ones Traditional funeral services provide a sense of closure and community support Cost and personal preferences may be a factor

Note: It is important to research and consider all options before making a decision. Each option has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, and what may be right for one person may not be right for another.

Common Mistakes And Misconceptions

Common Mistake/Misconception Correct Viewpoint
Using "decedent" and "deceased" interchangeably While both terms refer to a person who has died, "decedent" specifically refers to the deceased individual in legal or estate matters, while "deceased" is a more general term used in everyday language. It’s important to use the correct term depending on the context of the situation.
Thinking that mortuary science only involves embalming bodies Mortuary science encompasses much more than just embalming. It includes funeral directing, grief counseling, cremation services, and other aspects related to death care. Embalming is just one part of this field.
Believing that morticians are creepy or morbid individuals This stereotype is not accurate at all. Morticians are professionals who provide compassionate care for families during their time of loss and help them navigate through difficult decisions regarding funeral arrangements and final disposition of their loved ones‘ remains. They have a deep respect for life and understand the importance of honoring those who have passed away with dignity and respect.
Assuming that mortuary science is an easy career path with little education required On the contrary, becoming a licensed funeral director/mortician requires extensive education (usually involving an associate’s degree) as well as passing state licensing exams. The job also requires strong communication skills, attention to detail, empathy towards grieving families, physical stamina (as it can involve long hours), and knowledge about various religious/cultural customs surrounding death rituals.

Related Resources

  • Organ procurement in a deceased donor.
  • Live versus deceased donor in uterus transplantation.
  • Obstacles to the deceased donor transplantation in Pakistan.
  • Current practices in deceased organ donor management.
  • From deceased to bioengineered graft: New frontiers in liver transplantation.
  • Living or deceased donor kidney transplantation in children.
  • Biobanking and deceased persons.