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What to do

What happens when a death occurs at home?
If the death occurs suddenly or unexpectedly, the family should immediately contact the local police department to inform them of the death. The police will come to the place of death and notify the Medical Examiner's office or the Justice of the Peace. The death will be investigated at the place of death and if further investigation is necessary, the deceased will be taken to the Medical Examiner's office or to the nearest hospital. After their investigation has been completed, the deceased will be released into the care of the funeral home selected by the family.

If the death has been anticipated and the deceased was under a physician's care, the family should notify the local police. If the deceased was under hospice care, also contact the hospice organization. The police will come to the place of death at which time the attending physician will release the deceased from investigation. The family will then be advised to contact a funeral home of their choice to arrange for the transport of the deceased back to the funeral home. The funeral home staff will then proceed to the residence and transfer the body to the funeral home.

What happens when a death occurs in a care facility?
If an anticipated death occurs in a care facility, the attending physician will be notified. The care facility will notify the selected funeral home and they will come promptly to the deceased's room at the care facility and transport the deceased back to the funeral home.

The family will have many options to consider following the death of their loved one so it is wise to consult a funeral director and determine the needs and wishes of the family. Consultation with a funeral director prior to the time of death will provide the family with information that can ease some of the burden faced when a death occurs. It also allows the family to supply the care facility with the name of the desired service provider so that the hospital can contact the funeral home as soon as possible following the death without delay.

What happens when a death occurs while away from home?
When a death occurs away from home, it is preferable to contact a funeral home in the area where you wish to have the funeral service and interment. It will be more cost effective if the funeral home deals directly with a funeral firm in the place of death, rather than the family making the arrangements. After contact with the family, the funeral provider can then proceed to the place of death, if it is within a reasonable distance, or they can arrange for a local funeral firm to complete the necessary preparations to have the deceased returned home. Once the family returns back to their home, the remainder of the funeral arrangements can then be made with the funeral service provider.