If someone passes away at home, there are two people who need to be contacted immediately:
- Their nearest blood relative (if this isn’t you, it may be their spouse or child)
- Their doctor. If you do not know the name of their doctor or cannot reach them, call an ambulance instead.
If the person dies in hospital or in a care or nursing home, a member of on-duty staff will notify a doctor on your behalf.
The police do not usually need to be informed unless the person has died in unusual circumstances like an accident. Once the individual's doctor is satisfied about the cause of death, he or she will then provide two documents:
- Medical Certificate – an official notification of the cause of death which will be given to you in a sealed envelope. This certificate is very important and will be required to register the death. It must be signed by the doctor.
- Formal Notice – this notice confirms your doctor has signed the Medical Certificate and gives information on how to register the death.
Once these two documents have been completed you will be able to start making funeral arrangements. Our friendly Funeral team will be able to give you immediate support and advice, and arrange to bring your loved one into our care at one of our local branches or chapels of rest. You can find your nearest branch here.
If the cause of death is unclear your family doctor may not be able to issue a Medical Certificate. The doctor will liaise with the Coroner who will make a note of this on the Formal Notice. The Coroner will then inform you of what will happen next and what you will need to do.