The Differences Between a Funeral Home and a Mortuary in San Diego

The respectful disposition of a loved one usually involves more people than you think. From the moment of death to transportation, preparation and honoring of the deceased, it’s far from a simple process. 

But there are institutions that aim to make the process easier to handle, such as funeral homes and mortuaries. But what is the difference between the two? 

Learn about the services of a mortuary vs. a funeral home in the San Diego area and which might suit you better…

The Role of a Funeral Home 

When a loved one passes away, most people naturally assume that a funeral home is the first point-of-contact.

Traditionally, a funeral home plays the role of laying your loved one to rest. A funeral home does not typically cremate or conduct autopsies. But they do offer transportation services from the place of death to the funeral home. 

Funeral homes employ a myriad of staff to assist with this process. This includes funeral directors, who serve as both a guide and comfort during the process of a funeral arrangement.

Funeral directors are generally trained in grief counseling. They offer great support for the surviving family. They also coordinate all aspects of a funeral, including a number of finer details and state legislation.  

To add to this, a funeral home offers all the specialized extras you may associate with traditional funerals. So, in short, a funeral home provides more of a full-service experience. It offers comfortable, opulent surroundings — designed to comfort those in mourning. 

Just some of the services and products offered by a funeral home include: 

  • Event coordinators for large funerals/memorials
  • Catering services and coordination
  • Music to suit the occasion 
  • Funeral flower arrangements
  • Memorialization products including service booklets, mementos, unique caskets and urns, photos, and art 
  • Assistance in writing and publishing newspaper obituaries 

Funeral homes also offer services related to death registration and death certificates. 

It’s important to bear in mind that very few funeral homes offer cremation services onsite. However, the funeral home will arrange for the transportation of the deceased to a facility that does. The cremated remains are then transported back to the funeral home. 

If you choose a burial, the funeral director coordinates burial plans and timings with the clergy and cemetery of your choice. They also offer visitation services as well as transport for the family to and from the place of burial. 

The Role of a Mortuary 

In the big scheme of things, a mortuary offers almost the same services as a funeral home, bar a few key differences. Overall, the outcome is the same. 

The role of a mortuary is more focused on the mortuary sciences and the preparation of the deceased. In other words, a mortuary is a far more clinical environment. It does not offer the same comfortable, supportive environment as a funeral home. 

Generally, the services of a mortuary a far more direct. They only offer quick viewing of the deceased, reserved only for direct family members. They offer onsite cremation services without the full-service offering of memorialization.

You can also request a thorough autopsy be done by the mortuary, while simple preparation of the deceased is the main priority.

A mortuary may offer less extensive services, but there is a big cost-saving factor that works as a benefit. Some mortuaries offer the services of a funeral director, and in some states, a funeral director is required to be involved.  

But overall, their services are far more basic, without a focus on comfort or opulent facilities. Most facilities have limited space and are unable to accommodate large groups of guests, unlike a funeral home. 

On the rare occasion, some mortuaries may offer blended facilities. This includes the full-service offering of a funeral director and onsite cremation.

Mortician Vs. Funeral Director: What’s the Difference?

These two terms of often used interchangeably — but the duties of a funeral director and mortician can be quite different. The Bureau of Labor Statistics may use these terms under the same context, but here’s how they differ: 

A Mortician 

In a technical sense, a mortician oversees the preparation of the deceased for cremation or burial. This is their key role when running the services of a mortuary, and there is no memorial on offer. 

This being said, the two roles can be used interchangeably when a mortuary offers memorialization services. In this case, a mortician performs additional tasks such as grief counseling, death registration, and other legal paperwork. They also help to organize and direct the memorial service.  

A Funeral Director 

As mentioned, a funeral director takes charge of nearly every single aspect of preparing a loved one for burial or cremation. This includes transport and coordination of how the deceased is to be prepared. 

They offer grief counseling, coordinate paperwork, the death certificate, an obituary, memorial preparation, and more. 

Ultimately, it’s important to consider how much you’re willing to deal with after the death of a loved one. This is why the choice of a blended mortuary and funeral home may be the best choice. This takes the work and costs out of coordinating between two separate facilities while grieving.

Find a Full-Service Offering With La Vista Memorial Park 

At La Vista Memorial Park we help to simplify and streamline the process of laying your loved ones to rest. We offer a blended facility that includes a mortuary, sanctuary, and memorial park in one. 

We are a family-owned and operated organization that is here for you when you need it the most. Learn more about our full-service funeral offering, here.