First Steps

What to do when someone dies

It is not something that you will be prepared for, so please let us guide you through with some help. 

Expected death at home

If the death was expected and has occurred in the home, contact the doctor who had been attending to the deceased during their final illness. The doctor may write out the Medical Certificate of Death when they visit the house or they may request that you attend the surgery for this purpose. 

If a death occurs in the home outside of normal surgery hours a deputising doctor or paramedic may attend the home and issue a “certificate of attendance” which will need to be passed onto the doctor’s surgery when it re-opens. 

You do not need to wait for the doctor to attend before making first contact with the funeral director of your choice, though it is not possible for the funeral director to attend to transfer the deceased to their Chapel of Rest until the doctor has attended and given a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death.

Unexpected death at home

If a body has been discovered or if the death was unexpected then the family doctor and the police should be contacted. In the event of an unexpected death the Coroner may become involved. 

Once the coroner has investigated the circumstances of death they may issue you with a Medical Certificate of Death, alternatively they may forward the certificate to the registrar on your behalf, allowing you to begin the death registration process. 

When all necessary forms have been signed and upon being informed by the coroner that the deceased’s cause of death has been established Dean Wilson Funeral Directors will then transfer the deceased into our care at our private chapel of rest in Eltham

When death occurs in hospital

Unless present when death occurs, the relatives will be notified by the nursing staff as soon as possible. Arrangements can then be made with the Hospital Administrative staff to deal with the formalities. These will include collecting the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (issued by a Hospital Doctor) and personal possessions of the deceased. The Hospital may also issue a ‘Release Form’, which needs to signed by the next of kin, releasing the deceased into the care of the chosen Funeral Director.

The Coroner

In the case of a sudden, unexpected or industry related death, a Coroner is required to investigate the circumstances of death. It then becomes the Coroner’s responsibility to determine how and why an individual died. 

The Coroner and their officers are working in your interest and will always keep you up to date with any issues that may affect the funeral arrangements. 

There may be no Medical Certificate of Death issued. Instead the Coroner will forward the relevant documents to the Registrars Office to enable you to register in the usual way.

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