When Someone Dies

It is always difficult to remember exactly what to do when someone dies. This is a quick aid to the immediate actions you need to take. Your funeral director will help you after the immediate requirements, so there is no need to worry about them until later.

There are different actions that you need to take depending upon the circumstances that the death has occurred under.

REMEMBER: Wealden Funeral Services are here to hold your hand every step of the way. If you are unsure, or simply need reassurance then please call our friendly team.

At Home - Expected Death

It is quite normal for family to take care of a loved one at home in the final stages of their life. In most cases you will be made aware of the actions that you need to take when a death occurs. This would normally by to contact the primary care organisation (either the District/Macmillan Nurses or GP) in the first instance so that the death can be certified.

Once the death has been certified by the medical professional, you should contact your chosen Funeral Director to covey he deceased away from your home, and to their premises. Most reputable Funeral Directors will try and perform this task within one hour of your phone call. Some Funeral Directors do not operate a 24 hour service, so it would be easier for you if you choose one that does.

In rare cases, the Doctor or Nurse will not be in a position to issue the certificate. This could happen if the cause of death can not be easily attributed to the deceased know circumstances. In these rare cases the death may need to be referred to the Coroner for a possible post mortem. Should this happen, then the coroner will be arranged to remove the deceased to a hospital mortuary.

Finally, if you are not the next of kin, then you should inform them of the death as soon as is practically possible.

What happens next?

At Home - Unexpected Death

If the death was unexpected, your MUST call the Police and Ambulance services immediately by dialing 999. The operator will provide you with instructions on what you need to do, including establishing whether it is possible to attempt resuscitation on the deceased. The paramedics will either attempt to resuscitate when they arrive, or confirm the death.

If the cause of death is not know, it is important that you leave the area around the deceased untouched (with the exception of resuscitation attempts). The Police will arrange for the deceased to be collected by your chosen Funeral Director or into the care of the Coroner if the death is unexpected.

If the medical professional is unsure about the actual cause of death, even if it was clearly by natural causes, or if the deceased died suddenly or unnaturally, they will contact the Coroner in England & Wales, Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. These people may order that a post mortem examination, or inquest to determine the cause of death, and then issue the required documents to register the death.

It is important to note that a funeral can not be arranged until the Coroners inquest has been completed and cause of death established.

What happens next?

In Hospital

If someone passes away in hospital, the next of kin or closest family members will normally be informed immediately. The majority of hospitals have a dedicated bereavement department, with trained staff to explain the procedures and next steps to you.

If the deceased is to be cremated you need to tell the bereavement staff. The hospital document will issue the Medical Certificate, which is required before you can register the death.

If the cause of death is not know, it is important that you leave the area around the deceased untouched (with the exception of resuscitation attempts). The Police will arrange for the deceased to be collected by your chosen Funeral Director or into the care of the Coroner if the death is unexpected.

If the medical professional is unsure about the actual cause of death, even if it was clearly by natural causes, or if the deceased died suddenly or unnaturally, they will contact the Coroner in England & Wales, Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. These people may order that a post mortem examination, or inquest to determine the cause of death, and then issue the required documents to register the death.

It is important to note that a funeral can not be arranged until the Coroners inquest has been completed and cause of death established.

Your loved one will be kept in the hospital mortuary until you can arrange for them to be collected by your chosen Funeral Director. Inform your Funeral Director of the death, and they will liaise with the hospital directly and arrange the safe transport from the hospital to their own chapel of rest.

What happens next?

In a Care Home or Hospice

If you are not present when the death occurs, staff will notify you as soon as possible after the death. You can request to see your loved one before they are collected should you wish to.

The death will need to be notified by a medical practitioner and the GP will be notified so that they can certify the death. The staff will normally do this for you. If the death has been expected, or the GP has seen the deceased in the last 14 days, the doctor will issues the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, allowing you to register the death.

If the cause of death is not know, it is important that you leave the area around the deceased untouched (with the exception of resuscitation attempts). The Police will arrange for the deceased to be collected by your chosen Funeral Director or into the care of the Coroner if the death is unexpected.

If the medical professional is unsure about the actual cause of death, even if it was clearly by natural causes, or if the deceased died suddenly or unnaturally, they will contact the Coroner in England & Wales, Procurator Fiscal in Scotland. These people may order that a post mortem examination, or inquest to determine the cause of death, and then issue the required documents to register the death.

It is important to note that a funeral can not be arranged until the Coroners inquest has been completed and cause of death established.

What happens next?