What do I do when someone dies?
When someone dies the first person to notify is the deceased's Doctor. One of the first decisions you will need to make is, will the person who has died be buried or cremated. This determines the certification required from medical practitioners.
If your family member has died in hospital we will liaise with the hospital for necessary certificates for burial or cremation, in addition to organising the transfer of your loved one from the hospital into our care. These tasks will generally be carried out during normal working hours.
Nursing Home or Aged Care Facility
If the death has occurred in a nursing home or other care facility, it is most likely that we will need to transfer your loved one without delay. This is because most nursing homes do not have appropriate facilities. It is also why, on admission to a care facility, you may have been asked to provide details of your chosen funeral director. In the event that death occurs and you cannot be contacted, staff will be able to call us and make immediate arrangements to transfer your loved one from the facility into our care.
If the death was expected, your doctor or the Palliative Care Team, has probably discussed with you what will happen at the time of death. He or she should visit your home and will leave a certificate with you, which we will collect when we arrive to transfer your loved one into our care.
If the death was unexpected it is possible that the Coroner will be involved and a post mortem may need to be conducted to ascertain the cause of death.
In any case, you should call an ambulance immediately. Once the ambulance arrives at your home they will either contact your family doctor or the Police.
If required, the Police will make arrangements with the Coroner's office to transfer your loved one from home to the appointed hospital mortuary.
We welcome your call at any time during this process and will offer advice on who to contact and the procedures involved. It is important to note that much of the funeral arrangement process can be carried out prior to the completion of the coroner's role and it is prudent that contact be made with us as soon as possible. We will then liaise with the coroner regarding when the deceased will be released so a funeral can be held.
The law dictates the circumstances in which the coroner must be involved but generally a coronial investigation must be carried out when a person dies in suspicious or unknown circumstances or the person has not been seen by a doctor within the last few months.