When Death Occurs
Whether a death is sudden or expected, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed. No amount of planning 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 staff at Langham Funeral Home are here to help ease your stress and guide you through many decisions and emotions. The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.
When death occurs at home or a place of business
If the person was not under hospice care or doctor's care, the police will have to be notified immediately. The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the coroner/medical examiner. From there the coroner/medical examiner will take the body and determine whether further action is necessary. The coroner/medical examiner must pronounce and release the body before a funeral home can do anything.
If the person was under hospice care, most likely the hospice representive will be present when the death occurs. If however they are not, contact the hospice representative and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow. Most likely, the hospice represenative will return to pronounce your loved one and call upon the funeral home for removal and further assistance.
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 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 director 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 body, and in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service. The funeral director will also notify social security and if asked to do so will notify the employer and insurance company of the deceased. 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
If possible, 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 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.
When meeting with the funeral director , she or he will gather information required for the death certificate. This includes:
- Full Name and Address
- Marital Status
- Date and City of Birth
- Highest Level of Education
- Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
- Name of Spouse (if married or widowed)
- Occupation and Employer
- Veteran information ( a copy of the discharge papers DD214)
- Social Security Number
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
- Preparing an obituary notice
- Scheduling transportation arrangements
- Scheduling clergy/music
- A clear picture for the funeral director and for the obituary if desired.
- Clothing for the deceased; undergarments, shoes and socks are not necessary but are often brought with clothing
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.