When Death Occurs
No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that was a long time coming, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed. No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the loss of a loved one. When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering. The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.
When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility
The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you and the doctor immediately after a death has occurred. Once you have been informed of the death you should contact the funeral home. At this time the funeral director will ask a few questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time to come into the funeral home to make arrangements.
When death occurs at home
Often times, arrangements are made with a person's primary care doctor and a nursing agency to arrange for them to die at home. Contact the nursing agency if they are not present, they will notify the doctor and know the proper procedures to follow.
If the person was not under nursing care, the police will have to be notified immediately. The police will be come to the home and place a call to the coroner or primary care doctor. From there the coroner/primary care doctor will decide what action is necessary. The coroner/primary care doctor must release the body before a funeral home can do anything.
Informing a Funeral Director
Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you place should be to a licensed funeral director. Funeral directors are here to help transport the body, and in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service. The funeral director will also provide you with Proofs of Death and help you notify government agencies for benefits such as the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit and if applicable the Survivor's Benefit. Funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.
Meeting a Funeral Director
You should meet with a funeral director within 24 hours of a death to begin to make 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, but, funeral home staff have years of experience dealing with these issues, and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
First the Funeral Director will gather information required for the death certificate. This includes:
- Full Name and Address
- Marital Status
- Date and City of Birth
- Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
- Name of Spouse (if married or widowed)
- Occupation and Employer (if retired, occupation before retiring)
- Social Insurance Number
If no pre-planning has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service. These include:
- Scheduling the location, date and time of the visitation and funeral service
- Selecting burial or cremation
- Choosing Funeral Products
- Arranging a cemetery plot
- Preparing an obituary notice
- Scheduling transportation arrangements
A funeral director will guide you through all the 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 favorite sports team? What was their favorite type of music? What activity was your loved one known best for? Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and will help honor the life of your loved one.