For this assignment you are to choose an end of life preparation option. Examples are a funeral and the various ways they are done, cremation and/or any other acceptable way to work with the deceased. For this assignment you are not planning your own services unless you choose to. Also, you will read, review, and comment on the work of a peer. A sample paper is provided. :

End of Life: Donating A Body to UCF’s College of Medicine

Although death is a natural part of life that everyone must face, it seems that as a society, we fail to openly discuss the details of our end of life wishes and instructions for those we leave behind. This can be an extremely personal matter, and is important to handle with tact and respect, as one is dealing with the loss of a loved one. When preparing for the end of someone’s life, there are many considerations to take into account: the person’s personal wishes, the family’s preferences, and cost are a few to consider. I’m going to be discussing the process and details of a person who chooses to donate their body to the University of Central Florida’s College of Medicine.

Why would someone wish to donate their deceased body to UCF’s College of Medicine? Medical students are future health care professionals who need to understand the normal and diseased states of the human body, and we as a society benefit from the benevolence of people who are willing to contribute to the field of medicine by donating their bodies. UCF is one of three schools in Florida that are currently accepting donations (the other two are the University of Florida and the University of Miami) and they have a remarkably simple and considerate process by which they accept the donations.

How does one go about donating their body to UCF? First, one has to meet the qualifications, which, surprisingly, are few. 1. One must make prior arrangements with a local funeral home, cemetery, or mortuary to have the body undergo preliminary embalming. 2. One must have their body transported to the Anatomical Board at UCF. 3. One must not have had an autopsy performed on their body. 4. One could not have been extremely obese or had a highly communicable disease such as hepatitis or AIDS. 4. One cannot have died from a crushing injury.

What are the costs associated with donating one’s body to UCF’s College of Medicine? Firstly, because UCF required that the body be embalmed before donation, this means that this cost must be absorbed by the survivors of the person who is donating their body. Depending on the size and condition of the body, embalming can cost anywhere from $200-$700 at a funeral home or mortuary. There is also the cost associated with transporting the body to UCF, which can be done by obtaining a burial transport permit signed by a funeral director. Thankfully, in order to reduce costs and show appreciation to the families of those who wish to donate their body, UCF has a Donor Assistance Fund that can reimburse survivors up to $650 of funeral costs. This would bring the total out-of-pocket cost to, at most, $50. This means that not only is donating your remains to UCF a benevolent act for the College of Medicine, and in turn, the medical community and society at large, but it is a somewhat affordable option for your family who you leave behind. This cost-effectiveness is especially evident when one considers that funerals generally cost upwards of $6,500 in the state of Florida and cremation can cost between $500 and $3,000, depending on the type of cremation service. For those who are on a tight budget, donating your body to UCF can be an attractive end of life option.

At first, this assignment seemed morbid to me. It was weird and a little uncomfortable to think about what to do after a loved one or myself dies. But once I started researching options and thought about what was important to me, it became clear that the options were more than I had anticipated, and there were many factors that I had failed to consider. I was surprised to find out how expensive it is to have a funeral or cremation service. If I felt strongly about having either of those end of life preparations, I would definitely like to have those costs taken care of ahead of time so as not to burden my family. I do not have a belief system that limits my options to a funeral or cremation service, so I decided to look into other options. Being that my husband is a medical student at UCF, and he had mentioned that they receive deceased bodies to study as donations, I decided to investigate what donating a body to UCF would entail. To my surprise, it was a lot more straightforward and cost-effective than having a funeral or cremation service! The requirements were few and simple, and the fact that UCF reimburses the family for the majority of the funeral costs is remarkable. They truly make it easy for you to donate your body, should you want to. They even have a commemoration ceremony for those who donated their body, to show their appreciation for their donation. This is an option that my husband and I are seriously consider for when we pass on.