When Death Occurs

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it was expected for some time, the loss of a loved one is emotional and can make us feel overwhelmed.  No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for that loss.  When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering.  The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.

When death occurs at home or a place of business

If the person was not under hospice care with a death at home plan, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the coroner/medical examiner.  From there the coroner/medical examiner will determine whether further action is necessary.  The coroner/medical examiner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything.   If the person was under hospice care with a death at home pla, contact the hospice representative if they were not present and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility

The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you immediately after a death has occurred.  If a funeral home has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, they will be notified at the time of death.  If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time to come into the funeral home to make arrangements; however, if you are not present a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.

Informing a Funeral Director

Once the proper notifications have been made to family, and authorities if necessary, the next call you place should be to a licensed funeral director.  Funeral directors are here to help you obtain a medical certificate of death, transport the body and, in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service.  The funeral director will also assist you to make any additional notifications.  Funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve stress and handle the logistics involved in funeral planning.

Meeting a Funeral Director/Making Arrangements

Our funeral directors are with you from the first step through the days following a service.  Most people will meet with one of our directors within 24 hours of a death to begin to make final arrangements for their loved one.  Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state, but, funeral home staff have years of experience dealing with these issues and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Just as no two families are the same, no two funeral arrangements are the same; however, there is some standard information you will need to provide.  This includes:

1. Vital statistics about your loved one

  • Full Name and Address
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Marital Status
  • Name of Spouse (if married or widowed)
  • Date and City of Birth
  • Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name) and places of birth
  • Occupation and Employer

2. Contact information for the next of kin, information and or executor/executrix

3. Pertinent documents, such as:

  • Signed copy of the Last Will
  • Marriage certificate
  • Life Insurance Policies

Specific decisions must be made regarding the funeral service.  Some of these decisions may have been completed as part of pre-planning.  They include:

  • Scheduling the location, date and time of the visitation and funeral service
  • Selecting burial or cremation
  • Choosing Funeral Products
  • Arranging a cemetery plot
  • Preparing an obituary notice
  • Scheduling transportation arrangements

A funeral director will guide you through all these steps, using your wants, needs and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized.  Did your loved one have a favorite sports team?  What was their favorite type of music?  What activity was your loved one known best for?  Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and will help honor the life of your loved one.