Following the death of a close relative or friend everything can suddenly become confusing, and it can be very difficult to know what to do next, or even where to turn. Understanding the procedures that follow a death can help to put our minds at rest. It will depend on whether the person has died suddenly, at home or in hospital.
When the death occurs at home or in a care home
If the death was expected due to an illness, you should firstly contact the GP to inform them of the death. The Doctor will attend to confirm the death, and if he/she is satisfied with the cause of death, you will be able to contact a Funeral Director of your choice who will move the person who has died to their funeral home. The doctor will then issue The medical certificate of cause of death which will enable you to register the death.
When the death occurs in hospital
The hospital staff will inform the next of kin of the death. The bereavement office at the hospital will arrange for the medical certificate of cause of death to be issued.
When the death is unexpected
When the death is unexpected, or the doctor is unsure about the actual cause of death, or the person has died suddenly and had not been seen by a doctor in the previous 14 days the doctor will contact the Coroner. The Coroner may order that a Post Mortem examination takes place to determine the cause of death. Once the cause of death has been established the Coroner will issue the paperwork directly to the Registrar, enabling you to register the death.
What else needs to be done?
When someone dies there are many people and organisations that need to be informed. Make a list of each of these, and work through the list gradually over the following days or weeks. If a will has been made, make sure this is read carefully to ensure any special requests in the will are carried out. When you are ready, contact a Funeral Director and start to make the funeral arrangements.
Coping with the death of a close relative or friend is a life changing experience. Suddenly you will find that your life has been jerked out of your control and understanding and you may be faced with situations, to which you may never know the answers. It takes time, perhaps more time than we realise, but eventually you will be able to move forward - one day at a time.