What to do when someone dies

At Home or in a nursing home

When a death occurs at home or in a nursing home, a doctor must attend to certify that death has occurred, nurses, either district nurses or suitably qualified nursing home staff can also verify a death. Once this has taken place, the Funeral Director can be contacted and will remove the deceased to their premises. If the death was certified by an out of hour′s doctor, the deceased’s usual GP surgery will need to be contacted on the next working day to request a Medical Certificate of Death. In the case of a nursing home death the staff would be expected to notify the surgery that the death has occurred. The deceased’s usual doctor, if satisfied that the death was not unexpected will issue this certificate and this will allow the family to register the death.  Guidance on the registration procedure will be given by the Funeral Director.

In hospital

When a death occurs in hospital, the family will be advised by hospital staff when the Medical Certificate of death will be available for collection. This certificate is essential to register the death. If cremation is required it is beneficial to advise the hospital of this so that the completion of additional paperwork required for cremation can be commenced. The Funeral Director can be contacted at any time following the death in hospital and will give advice and support from that point. 


When a death occurs unexpectedly, If the deceased has not been under a doctor′s regular or recent care or if the police are involved, it is a legal requirement that the coroner is informed.  It is the coroner′s decision to decide what course of action will be taken. If the death occurs at home the coroner′s funeral director will be called by the police to transfer the deceased.

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