What to do when someone dies?

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What to do when someone dies?

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If the person is at home when they die (i.e. an expected death) contact your doctor no matter what time of day it is. They will arrange to come and confirm death, issuing you with a ‘medical certificate’ to confirm the cause of death. The person’s body cannot be moved until this has happened. Keep the room as cold as possible. Switch off any electric blankets. If they are on a pressure relieving mattress, this can be left on. You may want to wash and dress them, brush their hair. Close their eyes and mouth, roll up a towel and place it under the chin if necessary. If you already know that you would like the person cremated, tell your doctor as they will need to prepare different forms and make further arrangements. You will need to take to take the medical certificate to the registrar within 5 days to register the death.

If death occurs suddenly (ie: the person has not been seen by a doctor within the last 14 days) the body is immediately in the care of the coroner. This also applies if the person died following an accident or injury, due to an industrial disease, during a surgical operation, if the cause of death is unknown or if the death is unexplained. Normally a Post Mortem is carried out to establish the cause of death. This can be a very upsetting and scary time for the family. The police can be involved and may want to question family members. This is a standard procedure which is a legal requirement.

View or download our What to do when someone dies information pack.


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