Step-By-Step Guide: When A Loved One Dies At Home

Most of us would not, especially when the person is young, seemingly healthy and it was unexpected.  However, even it was expected due to a long illness, it is an emotionally stressful time, and thinking straight is likely a challenge. We have gone through this experience, adding stress to sadness.

This comprehensive step-by-step checklist should guide you through the steps to take during this upsetting time. Bookmark this post, or put this in a safe place.

Steps Upon An Untimely Death

If unexpected: #1 If a person dies at home expectedly, immediately call 911 emergency services. You need to call the authorities to have police involvement to ensure that the medical examiner legally pronounces the death.

#2 If the deceased was under the regular care of a doctor or under hospice care, call that doctor or hospice nurse.

#3 If the deceased had a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) document, make sure you have it in hand. Otherwise, the paramedics will start emergency procedures and take the person to the emergency room and police may insist on investigating as a potential crime.

#4 Once death is pronounced and the necessary paperwork is completed, you should contact the funeral home to arrange for the transportation of the body. If you and your deceased loved one did not choose a funeral or interment provider  (burial below ground) ahead of time, you will need to choose one.

#5 As this was unexpected, finding a funeral home in your neighborhood is appropriate unless your family has previous experience with one.

If expected due to illness: #1 Call the decease’s regular care doctor or palliative care doctor if the deceased was under terminal or hospice care. If possible, have the mobile number of the regular doctor or palliative doctor.

#2 Once the doctor has pronounced death and completed the necessary paperwork, you should contact the funeral home to arrange for transportation of the body.

Upon Pronouncement of Death In Either Scenario

1. Make sure any dependents or pets are taken care of during this time. If you have children, remember they are grieving and possibly confused. They will require care and support.

2. Contact family and friends, and delegate someone to call and reach out to others. You do not need to inform everyone about the death if you are not able to do so.

 3. Prepare for organ donation if you know that this was the loved one’s wish. If unsure, you can check the deceased’s driver’s license or if there is an advance directive that is usually prepared with other estate planning documents.

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