Whether anticipated or not, the death of a loved one is a jolting and emotional experience for families and loved ones. The actual time of death can be an overwhelming experience for most people, making it a challenge to organize thoughts and figure out which steps to take directly following such news. Since this is a situation that not many of us experience often in our lives, it is normal for you to not have any knowledge on what to do if it were to ever occur in your family. Continue reading to learn what you should do at the time of death of a loved one.
The Actual Time of Death
The steps you take at the time of death of your loved one will depend on several factors, including when and where the death occurs, the circumstances of the passing, and much more. Here is a basic guide to follow if it happens to you and your family:
Immediately upon receiving news that your loved one has passed, your first step is to notify the proper authorities. This depends on where the death occurs. If the death occurs in the hospital or in hospice care, you will likely be informed by them, so this step would be moot. The staff or burse will discuss procedures for contacting a funeral director, including whether they or the family are responsible for doing so.
A Death at Home
If an anticipated death occurs at home, it is generally considered a home care or hospice case, which should be treated the same as a death that takes place in a hospital. However, if a sudden, unanticipated death occurs at home, the proper step to take is to call 911 and go through the proper emergency procedures. When the medical personnel arrives, they will use their professional judgement to decide the best course of action to take from there. They will even work with the funeral home to coordinate transfers.
After you have communicated with either hospital staff or emergency medical personnel, it is necessary to contact a trusted or arranged funeral home. In order to make the process easier, be prepared to answer some important questions asked by the funeral director. This will help ease and expedite the transfer, receipt, and care of the deceased. Questions may regard the number of steps in the home to the deceased, whether or not family is waiting or wants to be involved in the removal, and more.
Notifications and Arrangements
Once the deceased is in the care of a funeral home, you can begin the process of notifying friends, family, coworkers, employers, place of residence, schools, churches, and more. At this time, you can also begin to make arrangements for your loved one’s home and personal life (car, bank, mail, refrigerator, pets, possessions, etc.).
Once everyone is notified and arrangements are made for their possessions, you can begin to organize their funeral, memorial, wake, and/or cremation. Your funeral directors will guide you through the entire process, start to finish.