When a loved one is lost, there are a number of emotions that you will experience in quite quick succession. Even if your loved one has been poorly for some time you will never truly be ready for the moment when they pass and sometimes the mixture of emotions will seem overwhelming.
The first steps to take will depend entirely on the circumstances of your loved ones passing.
If they are in hospital or a hospice, things will happen in a controlled manner and you will be guided and assisted by the medical and care staff that are providing end of life care. In this instance they will ask if you have chosen an Undertaker or Funeral Directors and will ask you to make contact with us when you are ready.
If your loved one has been cared for by you, perhaps with assistance from some of the excellent nursing and care agencies in the area, at home you would usually contact the usual GP or in the case of evening and weekends, the out of hours doctors service. The doctor will need to see the person who has passed away before we are able to attend to bring them into our care.
In the case of a sudden or unexpected death, usually you will need to contact the police who will attend the address of the deceased to ensure there is no sign of foul play. Although this can be a little distressing it is not a course of action undertaken lightly and is necessary to ensure nothing crucial is missed prior to the deceased being initially taken to hospital under the initial care of the Coroner. We will cover the involvement of the Coroner in a later post.
Because of the overwhelming emotions you will experience during this initial period of shock, we are always happy for you to call us in the first instance. We are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including all weekends, bank holidays and Christmas and New Years day.
Once you have called we will ask you some initial questions to establish what the exact circumstances are, this will enable us to advise you which course of action to take if required and indeed we will be happy to come out immediately to sit with you while we await the relevant authorities to attend.
Often it is best to keep busy during this time and it may be useful to start to think about other family members and close friends that you may wish to inform as quickly as possible. In addition, it is a good idea to start to gather together practical information that you will need in the near future. This may include, Birth and Marriage Certificates, Driving License, Passport, Bus Pass, Blue Badge, Medical Card or NHS Number and National Insurance Number. This list is not definitive but it is certainly a good starting point.
We will be able to advise you of the next steps once we attend to collect your loved one.