What to do when someone dies
In most cases, people pass away either in a hospital or hospice, or at home. Dependent on where a person has died, there are a number of things that need to be done.
A sudden or unexpected death.
If someone has passed away at home and it was sudden or unexpected then the first thing to do is call the emergency services. Usually either the police or paramedics will attend and confirm that a person has passed away. What happens next will depend on whether the deceased has seen their usual Doctor within the last 14 days.
If the person has seen their own Doctor within the last 14 days then usually the Doctor will provide a Medical Cause of Death certificate to the family, to allow registration of the Death to take place. You can immediately contact us, and we can begin the funeral arrangements.
If the person who has died has not seen their usual Doctor within the last 14 days, then the police will arrange for the deceased to be taken into care by the Coroner, and will begin any investigations necessary. The coroner will liaise with the deceased’s Doctor to confirm whether any underlying known causes may be responsible for the person’s death. If no known medical causes can explain the death, then the Coroner will order a Post Mortem examination to take place. After the examination the Coroner will usually open and then immediately adjourn an inquest into the death to allow the Funeral to take place. You do not have to wait for the Coroner’s inquest and can call us to discuss the funeral arrangements as soon as you feel able.
An expected passing at home.
Very often people reamain at home under palliative care and their passing is expected. In these instances there is no need to call the emergency services when they die. Usually the deceased regular Doctor is contacted and they will then attend the home, and confirm the person has passed away. Sometimes the Doctor may leave a note called an Intention to Issue – which is a note confirming to us, that the Doctor is satisfied that the death is from natural causes, and that they intended to issue a Medical Cause of Death (Death Certificate) to the family to allow the registration of the persons death. Once the Doctor has said that they intend to issue the Death Certificate, you can contact us, so we can bring the deceased into our care, and begin the funeral arrangements.
When someone passes away in Hospital or Hospice.
In most instances a passing in Hospital or Hospice is usually expected and in the presence of medical professionals. In these instances the hospital’s bereavement team will help with providing the Medical Cause of Death (Death Certificate), and in some instances may even help with the registering of the death. In these situations you can contact us and begin the funeral arrangements as soon as you feel able.
In some circumstances, the Coroner may still be involved in a death occurring in a hospital or hospital. This would usually be for deaths that occurred as a result of an accident or injury, an industrial disease such as Asbestosis, during or as a result of a surgical operation and before a patient had recovered from an anaesthetic. Again in these situations you can contact us and begin the funeral arrangements as soon as you feel able.
Contacting people and services following a death.
We have also created a check list for contacting people and closing accounts. See the Contacting People link below. The list can be printed and used as reminder for important tasks.
- Contacting People - This useful llist can be downloaded and printed.
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