What to do when someone dies
When a loved one dies it is normal for someone to contact a funeral home within the first few hours proceeding death. Sometimes if death has occurred in a nursing home the staff will make contact with the selected funeral home on the family’s behalf, otherwise a family member or friend will ring the funeral home. Here at Harrison Funerals we provide a 24 hour service to support families at this very difficult time. We can then advise on what actions need to occur next in order for arrangements to be made.
When a Death Occurs At Home
When death occurs at home as the result of an illness, although expected is still distressing. In these cases the doctor should be called in order for death to be certified. Once the doctor has attended the funeral home can be contacted and the deceased person can be removed from the home and taken into care. If a doctor is unable to issue a cause of death or the deceased has not seen their doctor in the last three months, the doctor will then refer the death to the Coroner.
When a Death Occurs elsewhere
If death occurs away from the home and hospital and cause of death can be established a medical certificate will be issued by their own doctor in consultation with the attending doctor. Where cause of death cannot be established the death will be referred to the Coroner.
Registering a Death
Once the medical certificate has been issued, death will be registered with Births Deaths and Marriages by the funeral home. Details taken from the family at the time of arranging the funeral will be supplied to the Registrar and this will form the information on the death certificate when it is supplied. The death certificate is normally received by the funeral home approximately 10 working days after the funeral. If the death was reported to a Coroner and a Post Mortem performed to establish the cause of death, the initial certificate will only be an interim certificate. The certificate with the cause of death will follow a few months later once inquiry is complete. The interim certificate is still able to be supplied to whoever may require it. When supplying the death certificate to organizations, only ever provide a copy and the copy must be certified by a Justice of the Peace. Here at Harrison Funerals we have a Justice of the Peace on staff and we will always supply copies that have been certified.
The Role of the Coroner
If death has occurred in any of the following circumstances the death may be referred to the coroner;
- Where the person died unexpectedly and the cause of death is unknown
- Where the person died in a violent or unnatural circumstance
- A death during, as a result of or 24 hours following a surgical procedure.
- A death which occurs within 24 hours of being discharged from a hospital or within 24 hours of seeking emergency treatment from a hospital
- Where the person was ‘held’ in care or in custody immediately before they died.
- Where a doctor has been unable to sign a death certificate giving the cause of death or;
- Where the identity of the person who died is not known.
(Coroners Act 2003)
If there is to be a post mortem of the deceased the funeral may be delayed slightly until all investigations are complete and the Coroner is happy to release the deceased person to the funeral home. Occasionally the Coroner retains organs, such as the heart and brain to do further investigations. This does not mean a funeral can not take place, but if family wish they can have those organs either buried or cremated at the time of release and placed with the rest of their loved ones remains.