Home funeral guides are an invaluable resource for families seeking support through the after-death process. But where do home funeral guides turn when they need information and support? The NHFA provides educational information, connections to teachers and trainings, directories to help families find them, and venues to meet and engage with others doing this challenging and beneficial work.
Every situation is different, and a Home Funeral Guide may be a great resource to facilitate a family's time while caring for their loved one. Read our fundamental premiseFamilies First: that home funerals are family-centered, and that the prime directive of home funeral guidance is that home funerals are created and conducted by and for families. Learn the role of a Home Funeral Guide, including what they legally can and cannot charge for in Essentials for Practicing Home Funeral Guides.
Home funerals are safe and legal in all states. Read about the laws, about the states with restrictions (and how you can help change that), and what to do if your rights are challenged.
Q&As For Home Funeral Guides
Q: How do I train and become certified to practice as a Home Funeral Guide?
A: Here is a link to our Directory, where you can find highly skilled individuals who train others to care for a deceased body. It is important to note that some courses offer a certificate of completion. Since there is no national certifying board for home funeral guides, it is incorrect to say you are a certified home funeral guide. However, if you complete a course of study then you can say you received a certificate of completion from a course that offers one. Here is our position on certification.
Q: So is it Home Funeral Guide, Death Midwife, Death Doula...or? What is the difference between what these different people do?
Q: Are there rules about what a home funeral guide can and can't do?
A: There certainly are! For example, a Home Funeral Guide cannot touch a dead body for payment—only as a friend or volunteer for the family. Asking for payment for hands-on body care could be construed as acting as a funeral director and practicing without a license. Find out more in the must-have book, Essentials for Practicing Home Funeral Guides.
Q: Is there a ruling or governing body for Home Funeral Guides?
A: The NHFA is an educational nonprofit organization that does not regulate or credential. We do provide guidelines for ethical practice for home funeral guides, and invite you to read the NHFA Code of Ethics. Our Ethics Committee is poised to answer questions and evaluate concerns.
Q. What can home funeral guides charge for?
A. Home funeral guides are allowed by law to charge ONLY for educational and consultative services. This may include general instruction, presentations, demonstrations, phone consulting, and other means of imparting information. Home funeral guides MAY NOT charge for hands-on body care of any kind. Home funeral guides who charge for consulting time spent with the family during a death AND sell anything to them, such as a casket, shroud, ice, or item needed for the physical care of the deceased are bound by the FTC’s Funeral Rule to provide a General Price List and are bound by the Rule’s protocol and processes. For explicit instructions and forms, read Essentials for Practicing Home Funeral Guides.
Home funeral guides and community groups who convene to be available to families during the funeral period do so as volunteers. The fact that they may have a website or promotional materials does not imply business transactions. They are also not responsible for reporting to any agency or office what home funerals occur with or without their involvement.
“Home funeral guides are not currently certified by any third party organization. They are trained not to do the work of preparing the body, providing transportation, filing the paperwork, or anything a professional is licensed to do, but to assist the family with information about all of these things and more. Home funeral guides are trained to know the law, know when bodies need additional attention, assist in finding local resources, and a myriad of other skills and educational services. They make sure things are done properly, safely, and legally; but more importantly, they are there as back-up support to family members and friends who may want to care for their own but are not confident about how.” —From the NHFA publication How Funeral Directors Can Support Home Funeral Families
The NHFA is a nonprofit 501c3 organization committed to supporting home funeral education. The NHFA does not offer certification opportunities. Membership in the NHFA and participation in its activities does not constitute endorsement of any kind.