What to do When a Death Occurs
Whether it is a phone call with news of an unexpected death, or one was able to share their loved one's final moments of a lengthy illness, a common reaction to the death is often shock. It doesn't seem to matter how prepared a person is - or isn't - a loved one's death can often leave us feeling numb and bewildered. At a time such as this if you're responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, shock and grief can be immobilizing. Simple decisions, deciding what to do first and making the first phone calls can be overwhelming.
Many people are left wondering what to do first. What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. Below, we have compiled a list of a few items to consider at the time of a death.
Making the first phone calls
Whatever the circumstances of death, we are here to help you in a number of ways including the transportation of the body, arranging the funeral service, preparing the obituary, in addition to issuing Funeral Director's Declarations of Death and obtaining a death certificate as required to assist with estate matters. We can also help you notify the deceased's employer, attorney, insurance company and banks, offer direction with grief support and many other resources.
What to do when...
...there is a Death in a Hospital
When someone dies in a hospital or similar care facility that has a holding facility for deceased patients, there is often a certain degree of administration that must take place before the funeral home can attend and transfer the deceased into our care. A call may be made to the funeral home at the time of the death but should the death occur in the night, the family can decide to go home and get some rest and call in the morning or perhaps wait until the next day when the family is in a relaxed state of mind.
...there is a Death in a Personal Care Home Facility
A death in a long-term care facility will require the funeral home to be called shortly after the death so that your loved one can be transferred into our care. Most times a care home will wait for next of kin to arrive should a family member want to attend before transfer to the funeral home.
...there is a Death at Home
If there is no previous documentation received from a family physician stating that the death at home is expected, an immediate call to 9-1-1 is required to report the death.
If there is previous documentation in place, the letter "Notice of Expected Death at Home" is filed with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the local Police, Emergency Services, and the Funeral Home. Should this letter be in place, the funeral home can attend without having to receive permission from the Medical Examiner.
Family and Friends can help too.
It may be easier on you to make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people, so the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you. If you are alone, ask someone to keep you company while you make these calls and try to cope with the first hours after the death.