Austin's Funeral Guide - When Someone Dies

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What to do when someone dies...

When someone dies it is quite usual for the family to contact a Funeral Director immediately. At Austin’s, we provide a 24-hour service to support families at this difficult time. We are able to advise on the actions required for the funeral arrangements to be made.

When a death occurs at home

A death occurring at home is often the result of a long illness and although expected is still distressing. In such cases the deceased’s doctor should be contacted in order for the death to be certified. If the death has occurred outside surgery hours or the deceased’s doctor is unavailable it is usual for another doctor to attend. Once the doctor has attended, the deceased can be removed and taken into our care at the appropriate Austin’s premises. Later that day or the following day the doctor will issue a Medical Certificate, which will give the cause of death. This will usually be made available for collection from the doctors’ surgery. The Medical Certificate is required in order for the death to be registered. If the doctor attending is unable to ascertain the cause of death, or the deceased has not been in the care of their doctor within the last 14 days, the doctor will refer the death to the Coroner.

In this instance the doctor may contact the Funeral Director nominated by the Coroner, which may not be Austin’s, and arrange for the deceased to be taken to the local hospital. However, should the family prefer, we will take the deceased into our care prior to being transferred to the hospital.

When a death occurs in hospital

When a death occurs in hospital and the family is not present at the time, the nursing staff will notify them. We may then be contacted in order for the funeral arrangements to be made. The hospital doctor caring for the deceased will issue the Medical Certificate. This will usually be made available for the family to collect from the Hospital Bereavement Office. The hospital may require the next of kin to sign a ‘Release Form’ prior to releasing the deceased into our care.

When a death occurs elsewhere

If a death has occurred away from the deceased’s home area, assuming that the cause of death can be established, the Medical Certificate will be issued by their own doctor in consultation with the local doctor who attended the deceased or by the hospital doctor in that area. Where the cause of death can not be ascertained the death will be referred to the local Coroner. Where a death has occurred away from the deceased’s home area we will arrange for them to be collected from the hospital or another Funeral Director, if appropriate. If the deceased is abroad we will advise and assist the family in the arrangements necessary for them to be returned home.