COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Restore Life USA provides the opportunity for donation either through Pre-Registration or once a loved one has passed.  Pre-Registration is signing and submitting paperwork before someone has passed while an At-Need is signing and submitting paperwork after someone has passed.  For At-Need Donations, we require the legal next-of kin to authorize and if there are multiple members of the highest class (Adult Children, Sibling, etc) each must participate.  We find that Pre-Registering for our program eliminates taking time away from loved ones near or at the time of passing, does not interrupt the grieving process, allows for easier transition into the latter half of the grieving process for our families, and allows our donors to be taken into our care to maximize the donation opportunities and fulfill their final wishes.

Restore Life USA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. There is no monetary exchange between RLU and our families nor is there a cost to the donor, the donor family, not the donor’s estate.  We cover the costs associated with transportation from the donor’s location of death, final disposition, a metal urn, and one death certificate.  If your loved one was a part of the military, then three death certificates will be provided. 

We truly appreciate the urgency in having the death certificate filed and returned. We must verify all information before the certificate is given to the doctor for their signature. This verification is done by sending your loved one a template shortly after the donation process has started. If your loved one has an email, please have them contact our office with their email address so that the initial part of the death certificate process can be accelerated.  Otherwise, the verification process must take place via US Mail.  Death certificates may take up to 6 weeks to be completed. The death certificate we provide will be returned with the in-person delivery of the cremated remains (in delivery areas) or mailed via US Postal Service. 

If your loved one is a Medical Examiners Case, their death certificate with have a “Cause of Death” listed as “Pending”.  This will not hinder the process of closing out bank accounts, estates, and other assets the donor may have had; it is still a certified death certificate.  Their cause of death will change once the medical examiner concludes the case, the family will be notified by the Medical Examiner, and the family can exchange the certificate with “Pending” for a “Final” certificate copy at their local health department at no charge.

Restore Life USA provides one metal urn.  If families wish to divide ashes amongst other family members, then they will need to personally provide an urn.  

Our Donor Consent Forms require two witness signatures aged 18 and over and not considered Legal Next of Kin or any member of the highest class as they are required to sign as Legal Next of Kin. If a notary is preferred, it will take the place of the two witness signatures.

We are restricted from paying for an obituary. However, if you choose to have one published, you will need to contact the newspaper to publish it. They may ask which funeral home served the family, so please feel free to give them our name and number to verify our services were utilized.  Restore Life USA also provides a space on our Facebook page for memorials.  Family members can submit, via email, up to 10 pictures and a written statement commemorating their loved ones. Images posted on the Facebook memorial page are at the discretion of Restore Life USA.

Per our Donor Consent Forms, Restore Life USA will return partial cremated remains to Legal Next of Kin within 30 days of donation.  We will begin contact the next of kin or designee within 2 weeks after the donation.  You will receive a phone call when the cremains and death certificate are ready to be returned.  We will attempt to schedule an appointment for the delivery so that you are aware when we are coming and to invite any family or friends in the event you need additional support.  If we are unable to reach you or requests (voicemail messages/text messages) are not returned, the cremains and death certificate will be held onsite consistent with the laws governing the holding of cremated remains.  In summary, this service does require active participation from the family to return your loved one.  If you are moving or changing phone numbers, please feel free to give us a call at 423-631-0067.

Restore Life USA does not provide autopsy or pathology services. As such, no reports are available. 

If you have a specific disease that you want us to know about, please pre-register so we can be aware and coordinate with potential researchers.  Coordinating with rare disease research projects does require advanced notice.  If we are not aware or the donor is an At-Need donor, we might not have enough time to coordinate with the necessary researchers.  We will attempt to honor specific projects, but there are factors outside of our control that may prevent us from fulfilling a specific donation wish.

The outcome of donation is kept confidential.  Restore Life USA has the responsibility to not only keep our donors identify anonymous, but also our researchers and their projects.

The Legal Next of Kin and witnesses can receive information.  If someone is not listed on the paperwork, Restore Life USA will not release any information to that person unless the Legal Next of Kin provides written permission as all donor information is maintained as privileged and confidential.   

We have a 5-day limit for donation after death.  This time limit is subject to change depending on if the donor has been in a controlled environment since their passing and the circumstances surround the death.

Our transportation services from the location of death to our facility are provided by regional agencies. Responses for transportation outside of standard business hours or home deaths may require more time and personnel than those received during normal business hours or those at a facility. These agencies are partners in our mission to honor your donation wishes, but any specific questions regarding our program or services should be directed to the staff of Restore Life USA. 

All applications are taken into consideration. There are certain diseases, conditions, past medical histories, past surgical histories, and past social histories that we are unable to accept.  If you have a specific question regarding eligibility, please feel free to contact our office at 423-631-0067.

Restore Life USA works closely with novel project researchers, advanced clinical researchers, and hands-on medical training and this is our primary focus.  There are additional projects that can be supported through donation, such as forensics, law enforcement, emergency medicine, and military projects where the donor may be subjected to more intense/extreme conditions that may likely result in damage to the body, and are different in nature by extent, and duration from most educational and research uses. The donor’s participation in these projects is voluntary and requires a separate detailed authorization.  This also can lead to a delay in cremains being returned to the family due to the nature of the projects.  This is entirely optional and will not affect the decision of acceptance into our program. 

Restore Life USA notifies Social Security and handles the Death Certificate within 72 hours from taking the donor into our care.

Per our Donor Consent Forms, “open casket viewings” are not possible with any whole-body donation and viewing of any type is not feasible once the body arrives at our facility. If families choose to say goodbye, they can wait with their loved ones until our transportation team arrives. 

Fingerprints and locks of hair can be requested. This request must be made after death and before the donor arrives at our facility. In fulfilling the donor’s request, the donation process often begins when the donor is taken into our care. As a result of the short time span from death to donation, fingerprints and/or locks of hair may not be possible.

If Donor’s come into our care with any possessions – jewelry, purses, wallets – we will deliver them back with the cremains and death certificate. Clothing and other accessories will not be returned

If you wish to sign up for our program, then you would be the one signing the decision to donate.  If the Donor is unable to sign for themselves, either due to illness or after death, it would be the Legal Next of Kin(s) that would all have to sign/participate in the decision for donation.  If you have any questions about the proper next of kindred, give us a call at 423-631-0067.

Slide 1
Thank You!

We would like to give a special thank you to the ALS Center and Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Wake Forest for helping us honor the wishes of a recent donor and donor family. We hope his gift of body donation will help researchers better understand and hopefully find cures for Lou Gehrig Disease / ALS.

Slide 2
Thank You!

Thanks to the overwhelming support of our partner researchers and educators, we at Restore Life USA are privileged to again to be a sponsor of Camp Caterpillar. Camp Caterpillar is a free, one-day camp designed to meet the needs of children and teenagers who have experienced the death of a loved one or similar loss.

Slide 3
Thank You!

John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics . University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Due to their on going research were able to help a local woman who suffered from HSP (Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia) We hope her donation will help researchers learn how to prevent others from suffering from this inherited neurological disorder.

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