When someone passes away in a hospital, care home or other institution, there will usually be some kind of medical or nursing support available to offer help and guidance. However, when someone passes away at home, quite often, family members can find themselves in completely unknown territory with no immediate support which can be a very daunting and traumatic experience.
If a death at home occurs during the day and is expected due to a terminal illness for example, the first thing to do is to contact their GP or the NHS helpline (111). If a loved one passes away at night the family should dial 111 in the first instance. If you are not next of kin, it is also really important to make sure they are notified immediately.
It is not necessary to contact the funeral director during the night, however, we are always on hand 24/7, should you feel this is the right action to take for your loved one.
If the cause of death is known, a Medical Certificate of Cause Of Death will be issued by the GP. This is required to be able you to register the death. At this point, the funeral director should also be contacted to arrange for your loved one to be moved into their care.
When someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly at home, the Police and Ambulance services MUST be called immediate by dialling 999. At this point, you will be asked whether you can resuscitate the person. Once the paramedics arrive, they will either attempt resuscitation or confirm death. For unexpected deaths where the cause of death is unknown, the Police will arrange for a funeral director to collected the deceased and taken into their care until the coroner can establish the cause of death.
If there is any uncertainty over the cause of death, even if it is clearly from natural causes, a coroner may order a post mortem examination or inquest to determine the cause of death. If this is requested, they will then issue the necessary documents to allow the family to register the death.
A funeral cannot be arranged until the Coroner’s inquest has been completed and the cause of death confirmed.
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