There will always be factors surrounding the death of a loved one that will dictate how a family must respond.These will include, but are not limited to, the cause, location and time of death. The following items will mention the various locations where death may occur and the necessary steps to be taken.
What Happens When A Death Occurs At Home?
Who should be contacted?
The attending Doctor (GP) or Physician must be contacted regardless of the circumstances. The police should be contacted only when a sudden, unexpected or accidental death occurs.
A Funeral Director should be contacted. His /her presence would help to relieve the family of the problems and details surrounding a death at home.
A member of the Clergy should be contacted, depending on one's personal beliefs or church affiliations.
After the death is pronounced, the Doctor. or physician will authorise the transfer of the late by the Funeral Director, either to the hospital for an autopsy, or to the funeral home.
Legally, the service of a Pathologist is required under the following circumstances:
when an individual has not been under the recent and regular care of a physician (more than 2 months); when accidental death occurs;
when death results from something other than natural causes.
It is the legal decision of the Pathologist to request a post-mortem examination, the family cannot object to this request. However, a physician may request an autopsy; the family's consent is required in this circumstance.
Need to report to nearest Hospital or Police Station and Family Doctor. Police will fill out all necessary documents and, if post mortem is not required, the Doctor will sign the reverse of the Police report.Should the death of a loved one occur while that person is travelling, a family may choose from the following alternatives:
- Contact a representative from the funeral home in the community in which the person resides. This is generally recommended, as the Funeral Director will make the necessary arrangements to transport the remains back home. All funeral arrangements could then be made, on a personal basis, with the local funeral home.
- Contact a representative from a funeral home in the location where death occurs. Similar transport arrangements would then be made by this funeral home to ensure the remains are transferred to a funeral home in the community in which the person resides.
The above noted alternatives assume that a traditional funeral service would be chosen.
Another option would be the cremation of the late, at the place of death, with the cremated remains interred or scattered at a later date. Should the late be transported home, some preparation and embalming will be necessary to meet the carrier's requirements. The carrier will accept a “shipping container” designed for this purpose or the late may be transported in a casket.
Regardless of the country where death occurs, a local Funeral Director would be familiar with, or could readily access, the rules and regulations associated with the transportation of the deceased. His/her services in these circumstances would be of great benefit.
In A Resident Care Facility?
(e.g. Athol Evans Hospital, B.S. Leon Hospital, Dandaro Clinic, Dorothy Duncan Centre)
Many of the residents in these facilities leave specific instructions with the Administrator, or Superintendent, as to whom they should contact in the event of their death. These instructions should include the name of the funeral home of choice. The Funeral Director would then be contacted and, if an autopsy is not required, the late would be transferred immediately to the funeral home, as mortuary facilities do not usually exist in a resident care facility. Funeral arrangements can then be made by family members, or resident staff, following instructions left by the deceased.
In a Hospital?
The procedure followed when death occurs in a Hospital is similar to that of a resident care facility. However the transfer of the late to the funeral home would be more flexible as most hospitals have mortuary facilities. If a hospital does not have mortuary facilities the funeral parlour can be contacted once the doctor has certified death.
Whatever the circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one, the advice, counselling and guidance of a Funeral Director at this emotional time should prove invaluable. It is important for the relatives to leave instructions with the matron or sister in charge as to the funeral parlour of their choice.
For any enquiries or questions please contact: Michael Monson 0912 685 601, Barry Millward 023 778 267
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