What to Do When a Death Occurs


If your loved one’s death occurs in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, the staff there will advise you on what to do. If it occurs in another location, whether it’s an accidental death or a death from natural causes, chances are that emergency services and personnel have been called. They, too, will offer guidance about what steps you need to take. If you are ever in doubt or don’t understand what to do, please call your funeral director and they will guide you with sensitivity through the steps you need to take.  

If your loved one’s death occurs at home, there are a couple of things to consider. Was the death expected or sudden? If the person was ill, ask his or her physician what you should do when the death occurs.  If the person is under hospice care, they will tell you what to do. Normally they want to be notified if they are not there.  In these cases, they will either call the funeral home or advise you to do it.  If you have any doubt about what to do, call your physican.

If the death is unexpected, you might instinctively call 911.  In that instance, the police and ambulance will respond. Depending on the circumstances, they may be required to perform any life-saving measures, including transport to the hospital, or they may contact the medical examiner’s office. If they determine that further investigation is necessary, the staff from the medical examiner’s office will transport the person’s body to their facility. If they determine that there is no need for further examination of the person’s body, they will offer to call the funeral home to come to transport the person’s body back to the funeral home. 

If you’re unsure about what to do, please call your funeral director and they will advise you according to your concerns and specific situation.