No matter if a death is sudden, or if it is 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 home or a place of business
If the person was not under palliative home care, the police will have to be notified immediately. The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the coroner. From there the coroner determines whether further action is necessary. The coroner must release the deceased before a funeral home can do anything. If the person was under palliative home care, contact the home care representative if they were not present and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.
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 necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred. If a funeral home name has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, they will be notified at the time of death. If you are present at the hospital when the funeral home representative arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time to come into the funeral home to make arrangements, however, if you are not present a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.
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 you obtain a death certificate, transport the deceased, and in the event, pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service. 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 a 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 the information required for registering the death. This includes:
- Full Name and Address
- Marital Status
- Date and Place of Birth
- Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
- Birthplaces of Father and Mother
- Name of Spouse (if married or widowed, including maiden name)
It is advisable to bring in a copy of the will if it is available to show who is the Executor in charge of making funeral arrangements.
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 if requested
- Preparing an obituary notice
- Scheduling transportation arrangements
A funeral director will guide you through all these 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.
For more information on planning a memorable goodbye see Saskatoon Funeral Home's helpful guide