What to do when somebody dies

When a death occurs it is always difficult to know what to do first, after all the majority of people have little to no dealings with death so it is important that we guide you through this initial stage correctly and compassionately.

We are available to you 24 hours a day so no matter what time you may need us we are always here, once we receive your call we will advise you as to what happens next and guide you through anything you may need to do. Please read below to see what happens when a death occurs in the most common types of settings.

You can contact us by telephone 24 hours a day if you need our help or have any questions on 01273 820018.

 

At Home

When someone dies at home, a doctor will need to certify the death. Sometimes this will be the person’s registered GP, sometimes it will be the on-call doctor. After someone has died, you can spend time with them, if you wish to do so. You may want to play some music and light a candle, open the window and just ‘be’. There’s no rush. Whenever you’re ready, you can call us on 01273 820018 and we’ll bring the person who has died safely into our care in Hove, providing the death has been certified.
If the death was expected, the GP will provide a “Medical Certificate of Cause of Death” showing the cause of death, which you will need to when you come to register the death.

If the death was not expected, or has resulted from an accident or fall for example, then the emergency services must attend and the coroner will be made aware. In these cases the deceased will generally go into the care of the coroner first, then will be released to us at a point soon thereafter.

At a Nursing Home

When someone dies in a nursing home, a doctor will need to certify the death.  Sometimes this will be the person’s registered GP; sometimes it will be the on-call doctor.  Once the doctor has been to see the person, the nursing home may require that we collect them straight away. If the death was expected, the GP will provide the “Medical Certificate of Cause of Death” showing the cause of death, which you will need to register the death. If the death was not expected, or has resulted from an accident or fall for example, then the emergency services must attend and the coroner will be made aware. In these cases the deceased will generally go into the care of the coroner first, then will be released to us at a point soon thereafter. 

In Hospital or Hospice

If the person has died in hospital or hospice, you’ll liaise with the bereavement team who will offer practical and emotional support.  The person who has died will usually be cared for in the mortuary at the hospital or hospice until a funeral director is appointed or alternative arrangements are made. If you appoint us as your funeral director, we will liaise with the hospital or hospice and make the necessary arrangements to bring your loved one into our care.

If Someone Dies Unexpectedly

If someone dies unexpectedly or if they haven’t been seen by their GP in the last 14 days, their death will be reported to the coroner, who may request a post-mortem or inquest. This may take some time so it’s a good idea to speak to us so we can liaise with the coroner and make provisional arrangements for the funeral. We won’t be able to confirm a date or time until the coroner has finished their investigations.

You can call us for support and advice anytime of the day or night.
01273 820018

Registering the Death

You’ll need to make an appointment at your local register office to register the death within five days.  You’ll need to take along the “Medical Certificate of Cause of Death”, signed by a doctor.  If you have their birth certificate, NHS medical card or number and marriage or civil partnership certificates, take these along as well.

You’ll be issued with “The Registrar’s certificate for cremation or burial” and a copy of the “Certified Copy of the Entry of Death” commonly known as the “death certificate”.  You’ll need to give us “The Registrar’s certificate for cremation or burial” for the funeral to go ahead.

It may be a good idea to get several copies of the death certificate, as various authorities may need it (such as banks and life insurance companies.)

Brighton Coroner
Gov.UK Advice