What to Do When a Death Occurs

The Bible tells us that death comes “like a thief in the night.” In other words, we never know when someone is going to die.  Survivors are caught off-guard and often don’t know what to do.

If the death occurs in a hospital, nursing home or other health care facility, the nursing staff will assist you. They will ask you what funeral home you wish to use. They will make the initial notification of the death with us. A family member may also call, if they wish. This person should have close next of kin status and be aware of what kind of services the family wishes to have.

If the death occurs at your home or residence and the individual has been under hospice care, hospice should be notified first. They will make contact with us. 

If the death occurs at your home or residence and is sudden or unexpected, the police should be summoned by calling 911. Emergency medical services and the medical examiner will respond. The medical examiner will notify us when it is appropriate for us to come.

If your death occurs while out of town, we should be notified first. If you engage a funeral home to act in another city, costs go up significantly. Once we have been notified of the out-of-town death, we will engage a funeral home in that city to act as our agent.

When a family member is making an initial contact with a funeral home to report a death there are several items we will need to know. We should know the full name of the individual, the location of death and whether the person is still at that location, the date and time of death, and the name of the physician who will be signing the death certificate.  We will also want to know who the legal next of kin is and how they can be contacted.

If embalming is desired, we will ask for verbal permission to embalm, or we will ask if cremation is desired.

We may also verify that we are the funeral home of choice and ask if there are any existing prearrangements. We may also verify any financial concerns that family may have.

Losing a loved one is never easy. We are here to help and  will guide you through the process, every step of the way, starting with this initial contact in which the death is first reported to us.