Our Code of Ethics
We're proud to say our profession, as many others, is guided by a code of ethics. In this way, we establish and define our ethical business practices, and ensure the highest standard of quality in the performance of our professional duties. We invite you to very briefly explore the basic concept of "ethics",and learn the specific features of our funeral home's ethical code.
Let's Talk Ethics
Modern ethics, the branch of philosophy which examines "right" and "wrong" moral behavior, concepts, and language, has deep, deep roots. In fact, its beginnings have been traced all the way back to the Sumerian Farmer's Almanac (dated to around 1700 to 1500 BCE);and the ancient Egyptian Instruction of Amenemope (1300 to 1075 BCE). Of course the books of many of the world's great religions, such as the Bible, Bhagavad-Gita, and Koran call for obedience to moral rules (in other words, there are ethical guidelines within the spiritual teachings of these precious volumes).
And certainly whenever we think about ethics, the names Socrates and Aristotle come quickly to mind; as well as that of Thomas Aquinas, who effectively combined Biblical and Aristotelian ethics (arriving at Natural Law theory, where human nature determines what is right and wrong). And without fail, whenever ethics are the focus; the command of Leviticus, "Love thy neighbor as yourself" will surface in the conversation.
Today, ethical behavior is such an important issue, people gather from around the world to discuss it: a Global Ethics Summit and a Global Ethics Forum Conference is held each year. Professional associations, like the National Funeral Directors Association; and companies of all sizes, are committing themselves to establishing an internal code of ethics governing their business practices and customer relationships. Many have also developed a code of conduct outlining ethical behavior specifically for interactions among their employees.
Funeral Service Code of Ethics
Funeral professionals (such as licensed funeral directors, embalmers, crematory operators and certified preplanning consultants) are subject to a set of ethical guidelines by the associations they belong to; organizations like the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) or the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association (ICCFA). In addition to these national organizations; many state funeral service associations expect members to follow an established code of ethics. There also exists strongly worded career-specific ethical codes; such as the one developed by the NFDA for Certified Preplanning Consultants.
The fundamental elements within each of these codes are intended to provide funeral professionals with a framework for the relationships we develop with the families and individuals we serve; as well as to establish guidelines for those have with our community-at-large.
The Ethical Care of Families
Of course, in every relationship we have in life–whether within the family, at work, or in the marketplace–we expect to be treated fairly; and with respect. This is especially true when turning to a funeral home or cremation care provider. After all, there is no more vulnerable time than when a beloved family member dies; it's certainly a time when respectful, compassionate care is sorely needed. At their heart, our respective professional codes of ethics relating to our client relationships follow these core ethical guidelines:
We will treat all information shared during the cremation arrangement conference, and throughout the time we spend together, with confidentiality and integrity.
We commit to providing cremation-related services to all without regard to religion, race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
We will honestly answer any and all questions asked by the families we serve, and will attempt to resolve any problem fairly and efficiently.
We commit to ethical fiscal processes and procedures; factually accounting for all monies, documents or personal property which comes into our possession.
We will always follow the guidelines of the Funeral Rule, which requires us to provide detailed pricing information and/or a copy of our General Price List (a list of available goods and services) at the time cremation costs become the focus of conversation.
We commit to continued compliance with the Funeral Rule by furnishing detailed written statements of all purchased services and/or merchandise at the close of the arrangement conference.
Ethical Relationship to the Community
We exist to serve the families and individuals in our community by providing them with exemplary cremation care, and we take the responsibilities involved (as well as the code of ethics governing them) very seriously. To that end, our ethical business practices as they relate to our relationships with the community-at-large, including our responsibility to respective governmental agencies include:
We will make no representation, either in writing or transmitted orally, that may be false or misleading.
We will continue to hold all necessary licenses, both as individuals and as a business entity.
We will continue our professional education, ensuring an uninterrupted level of superior service in all we do for our community.
We pledge to conduct ourselves, at all times, in a manner deserving of the community's trust.
We will comply with all state and federal standards and regulations governing funeral service business operations.
To Us...Ethics Really Matter
Funeral service ethics (and the codes which define it) include elements which go way beyond strictly legal expectations. Instead, the code of ethics we operate under demand we adhere to much higher standards; ideals which many area families have come to know personally. If you have need of cremation services, we invite you to call us at (301) 739-5498. From the moment we answer the phone, you'll see evidence of our commitment to the highest professional standards and ethical business practices.
Wikipedia, "Ethical Code", accessed 2014
Wikipedia, "History of Ethics", accessed 2014
National Funeral Directors Association, "Certified Preplanning Consultant–Code of Ethics", accessed 2014