When Death Occurs

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it 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 death occurs at home or outside a medical facility

If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the medical examiner or coroner.  From there the medical examiner/coroner will take the body and determine whether further action is necessary.  The medical examiner/coroner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything.   If the person was under hospice care, contact the hospice representative if they were not present and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.  If you are unsure of the process, please feel free to contact us for guidance.  Selover Funeral Home can help you through what can be a very stressful time.

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  nursing home or hospice facility, the facility will usually notify the funeral home at the time of death.  If the death occurs in the hospital, the family should notify the funeral home themselves. 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

A licensed funeral director should be contacted as soon as possible following a death.  Funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.  We are here to consul you in making informed decisions, care for the deceased and answer all of your questions.

Meeting a Funeral Director

When 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.

Making Arrangements

First the Funeral Director will gather information required for the death certificate.  This includes:

  • Full Name and Legal Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Marital Status
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Date and Place 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
  • Military Information (branch of service and service dates; a copy the the military discharge (DD214) is very helpful)

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

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.