Tonight one of my clients is close to death, at home with hospice oversight and 24-hour care, and her daughter is feeling the stress of the unknown. What will she have to do when the time comes? Here are the immediate steps one might have to take if a loved one dies at home.
1. Someone needs to pronounce death. If they were under hospice care, contact the hospice nurse. The hospice nurse can declare death and facilitate transportation to a mortuary.
If they were not under hospice care, call 911. Hopefully you have a DNR available – if not, paramedics may be required to attempt emergency procedures and transport the person to a hospital for a doctor to make the pronouncement.
2. Arrange transport to a mortuary or crematorium. The mortuary will give you pricing information over the phone.
3. Notify your loved one’s doctor or the county coroner, and begin to inform close friends and family. Make sure any dependents and pets are taken care of.
These are obviously just the first of many tasks that will take place over days and then weeks. Once friends and family know, hopefully they will step up to assist.