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When a Death Occurs


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When a death occurs, regardless of whether the death was an unexpected death or the final moments of a long illness, your initial reaction to the death was likely shock. Regardless of the circumstances it is impossible to fully prepare yourself emotionally.  A loved one's death may leave us feeling numb and bewildered. If you're responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, shock and grief can be immobilizing. Even simple decisions can be overwhelming.

  • Making the notifications - What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When someone dies in a hospital or similar care facility, the staff will usually take care of some arrangements, such as contacting the physician or medical examiner and the funeral home you choose. You will need to notify family and friends. It may be easier on you to make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people or to direct people to the funeral home’s website for service timing and places, so the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you.   If you are alone you may want to ask someone to keep you company.
  • When someone dies at homeIf a person dies at home, if they are under hospice care, first notify the hospice organization who was providing care.  If they were not under hospice care, first call 911 or the emergency phone number in your area.  The paramedic or police professionals will be able to help you with the next steps.
  • Call the funeral director Once the care facility, hospice nurse, Medical Examiner, paramedic or police officer is ready they will help you contact the funeral home.  A funeral director will help you by bringing the body back to the funeral home and arrange a time to get together so the funeral professional can help you carry out your wishes.

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