When Death Occurs

Whether a death is sudden or expected, the loss of a loved one is can be indescribable. When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem overwhelming. This section seeks to guide you through the immediate hours following a passing.

When death occurs at home or a place of business:

If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and will place the call to the coroner or medical examiner.  From there, the coroner will call a funeral home to remove the body on their behalf. They will determine whether further investigation is necessary and when appropriate will release the body to the funeral home of choice.  The coroner or medical examiner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything.   If the person was under hospice care, contact the hospice representative, and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility:

The staff of a care facility, such as a hospital or nursing home, will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred.  You will have to contact a funeral home.  If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased's wishes and set up a time to make arrangements. If you are not present, a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.

Informing a funeral home

When a death has occurred, it is important to contact the funeral home. The staff is there to help you and assist you with your needs. Someone from the funeral home will transport the body, ensuring your loved one is taken care of. In addition, the staff will work with you to create a meaningful funeral or memorial service. A funeral director will help you obtain necessary documentation following a death as well, such as a proof of death certificate.

Meeting a Funeral Director:

You should meet with a funeral director within 24 hours of a death to begin making final arrangements for your loved one.  Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state. Do not worry: funeral home staff have years of experience, and will strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Making Arrangements:

During funeral arrangements. the funeral director will gather information pertaining to the deceased, such as:

  • Full Name
  • D.O.B. (Date of Birth)
  • Place of birth
  • Parents names
  • Parents place of birth
  • Marital status
  • Address
  • Employment information (occupation / employer)

In addition to this information, which is used to register the death, arrangements will be made for funeral service, these could include:

  • Scheduling, location, date, time of a funeral service
  • Selecting burial or cremation
  • Choosing funeral products
  • Arranging a cemetery lot
  • Preparing an obituary notice
  • Planning details of services selected

A funeral director will guide you through all of these steps, using your wants, needs and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized.  Did your loved one have a favourite sports team?  What was their favourite type of music?  What activity was your loved one known best for?  Sharing these memories with the grieving process and will allow you to pay tribute to the life of your loved one.