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What To Do If
What To Do If Someone Dies
When someone dies at home, there are several things to consider such as whether the death was expected or unexpected. If they died during the day or at night, there are different steps to take.
When the death is expected, the next steps vary slightly depending on the time of day. During the day – If your loved one died during the day, and the death was expected, you will need to contact their GP or the NHS helpline (dial 111) as soon as possible. During the night – If your loved one passed away at night, you should call the out of hours GP or district nurses, you can also call the NHS helpline (dial 111) who will advise you on what to do next. If the cause of death is known, the doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, allowing you to register the death. You should also contact a local funeral director immediately to arrange for them to bring your loved one into their care.
If the death was unexpected, you must call the Police and Ambulance services immediately by dialling 999. The operator will provide instructions on what you need to do including establishing whether you can try to resuscitate the person. The paramedics, upon arrival, will either attempt resuscitation or confirm the death.
If the cause of death is unknown, it is important you leave the area untouched (apart from any attempt at resuscitation). The Police will arrange for a funeral director to collect the deceased and take the body into their care, acting on behalf of the Coroner if the death is unexpected. As difficult as this is, it is important to remember that a funeral cannot be conducted until the Coroner releases your loved one from their care.
UK hospitals provide medical certificates of death to the family for registration at the registry office. They may want to discuss organ donation if appropriate, but they will always prioritise respect for the deceased and supporting you as the bereaved.
If your loved one has passed away in a care home, a registered nurse or doctor will first confirm their passing. The care home staff will then contact you to confirm the death and arrange for funeral plans, as well as discuss any final wishes the person may have had. In some cases, a post-mortem examination may be required by law to determine the cause of death. Contact your local funeral director as soon as possible to arrange for the deceased to be taken into their care.