February Magazine Feature: What To Do When A Loved One Dies

Part 1

Losing a loved one is always difficult. Even if the death was not unexpected, it can be hard to come to terms with, leaving you feeling lost and overwhelmed by all that must be done. While nothing can take away the pain of losing someone you love, preparing in advance and making sure you know what steps to take and when, can make this challenging time a little easier.

What To Do When A Death Occurs At Home

If your family member or friend has passed away at home then the first step is to call a Doctor to come out and certify the death. If your loved one was being cared for at home and a nurse is present, then it’s possible that the Doctor may give the nurse the authority to confirm the death for you instead. You will be issued with a medical certificate by the surgery, usually the following day. If your loved one passes away while in a residential home then in most cases they will arrange all of this for you.

If the death was unexpected it may be referred to the Coroner. You can contact the local coroner’s office in King’s Lynn on 01603 276493. They will be able to advise you on the next steps if this is the case.

What To Do When A Death Occurs In Hospital

When a loved one passes away in a hospital the process is a little different. The staff will certify the death and you will need to book an appointment with the Bereavement Office to arrange collection of the medical certificate. You can contact the Bereavement Office at Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 01553 613878 or for Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital call 01603 287165.

What To Do If A Death Occurs Abroad

If a death occurs abroad you will need to follow the guidelines set out for that specific country, before then arranging for your loved one’s body to be returned to the UK. If you have travel insurance that covers repatriation they will help you to make the necessary arrangements and will cover the costs.

Choosing Your Funeral Services

As soon as the Doctor or Nurse has confirmed the death you can contact your chosen funeral services and arrange for your loved one to move into their care. Most funeral directors will take calls any time of day or night. Look for a funeral director that holds a good reputation in the local area and is willing to answer your questions and support you through this challenging time. If finances are difficult they will be able to make arrangements to help spread the cost of the funeral too.

Registering The Death

Once you have your medical certificate you will then need to book an appointment at the Registrar’s Office where the Registrar will record the death and issue you with an official death certificate. This is a legal document that will be required for many tasks including settling the estate and claiming insurances.