Ask The Undertaker - Part 1, When Someone Dies

In a three part blog we’ll be answering some common questions we get asked by families we work with…

What should I do if my relative dies at hospital?

If your relative passes away in hospital and they’ve been an impatient for the last 14 days, the hospital doctor will issue you with a medical certificate of the cause of death, which you will use to register the death with the Registrar. You will also be able to spend time with your loved one, either in a private room or a chapel of rest within the hospital. You can also spend time with the person who has died at the funeral directors if that is preferable – the hospital will not be your last chance to see them. After this your loved one will be taken to the hospital’s mortuary where the funeral director will arrange with the hospital to take them into their premises.

What should I do if my relative dies at home?

If your relative passes away at home or in a care home and the death is expected to occur, the first thing that you must do is contact the GP that has been looking after the person. The GP will come to the care home or your home, confirm the death, and give you a medical certificate of cause of death. After this, you can contact the funeral director, who will then take your loved one into their care. When the person has died, it may be a good idea to call your chosen funeral director to let them know you will need them to collect your loved one. Although they cannot come until the GP has visited, if you are keen to have your loved one taken to the funeral home quickly, they can be on standby. There is no rush though, if you want to spend some more time with the person who has died, you must not feel pressured to call the funeral director straight away. There may also be personal items or photos you would like to be kept with your loved one, you can give these to the funeral director or leave with the person who has died.

The doctor says that they can’t issue Medical Cert of Death. Why is this?

If the doctor can’t issue the relevant paperwork, this is because of the circumstances surrounding the death. If this happens the death will be referred to the coroners for further investigation. Your chosen funeral director will be in touch with the coroner as well, in order to check the progress they are making, and communicate with you any updates.

What do I do when the coroner is involved?

When the coroner is involved you are entitled to contact them and communicate with them by phoning to keep yourself updated. However we realise this may be a difficult thing to do especially if the death was sudden or traumatic, so we will also keep in regular contact with the coroner, and keep you informed. We can also let the coroners know your wishes in terms of your religion, faith, and your cultural practices. For example if the funeral needs to happen very quickly, we will ask to corner to be aware of this.

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