First things first
Even if it was expected, a death at home can be very upsetting.
It’s perfectly ok to take a moment to yourself before you do anything else. Or you might want to ask a close friend or family member to be with you.
When you feel ready, follow the steps below.
Remember, if you’re unsure about anything, just give us a call.
If the death was expected:
Step 1 – Call the doctor (the GP)
First you need to call the deceased person’s GP.
If you call during surgery hours, the GP will normally come to the house to certify the death and issue a death certificate giving the cause of death (officially called the Medical Certificate of Death).
If you call out of normal surgery hours, an out-of-hours doctor will visit the house, but the certificate will be issued later, when the surgery re-opens.
Sometimes you have to go to the surgery to pick up the certificate.
If the death was unexpected:
(or the deceased hasn’t seen their GP in the past 14 days)
Step 1 – Call an ambulance
Call an ambulance. (A doctor can’t issue a certificate if they’re unsure of the cause of death.
In this case, you need a coroner to establish the cause of death.) The deceased will be taken to the coroner’s mortuary where a post-mortem may be carried out.
ONCE THE DEATH IS OFFICIALLY CONFIRMED:
Step 2 – Call us.
We’ll talk you through what happens next and the first decisions you need to make.
Please remember you can call us at any time before this point, if you want some extra support or guidance while the cause of death is confirmed.
When someone dies in hospital, the deceased will not be released into our care until the necessary paperwork is completed. Some hospitals have a chapel of rest. This is a peaceful place, away from the bustle of the hospital.
What you need to do
· You’ll need a Medical Certificate of Death (death certificate) from the attending doctor. Bear in mind that this may take a while. Doctors work in shift patterns and you may need to wait for the same doctor to be back at work.
· Remember to collect any of the personal items, belonging to the deceased, from their hospital stay.
· Give us a call so we can talk you through the first steps towards arranging the funeral and bringing the deceased into our care.
What the hospital needs to know
The hospital will ask you:
1. For the details of your chosen funeral director.
2. Whether the funeral will be burial or cremation
If you decide on a burial, the deceased will be released into our care as soon as the doctor has completed the cause of death certificate.
If you decide on cremation, there will be some extra paperwork that the hospital will need to complete before they will release the deceased into our care.
(Namely: Form 4: a Certificate of Medical Attendant, Form 5: Confirmatory Medical Certificate along with the cause of death certificate.)