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What to do If a Loved One Passes Away at Home

What should you do if an ill loved one passes away at home? This quick guide will tell you what steps need to be taken to make arrangements and register the death when it happens at home.
What to do If a Loved One Passes Away at Home

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One in five people pass away at home. That’s already a significant percentage, and it will likely get larger. A study from Stanford School of Medicine found that 80% of people want to die at home

But what if you’re the family member?

Take a Moment for Yourself

If the death was expected then it isn’t an emergency situation. You may want to take a few quiet minutes to yourself to say goodbye and gather your thoughts. It could also be a good time to call a few close loved ones who can provide support.

Call the Doctor or Hospice Care Facility 

Many times when someone passes at home the death is expected. If your loved one had a primary care physician caring for their health you can call them to come and pronounce the death. You can also call the care facility if your loved one was ever in hospice. In either case, a medical professional that you know may be able to pronounce the death and certify the death at the home.

Call First Responders

First responders may need to be called soon after the death in order to verify the death and transport the body. When you call, let the first responders know the death has occurred, that it was expected and how it occurred. 

If your loved one had an advance medical directive or a Do Not Resuscitate form have those ready when the paramedics arrive so they know how to proceed. If your loved one didn’t have advanced directives then the first responders may be required to try resuscitation. 

It’s also important to understand that first responders can’t pronounce the death. They will need to transport the body to a medical facility so that a physician, coroner or medical examiner can pronounce the death. In some cases, if a doctor pronounces the death they must notify the local coroner or medical examiner. 

Don’t be worried if the police want a statement. Most of the time when a death occurs at home when a doctor or hospice worker isn’t present the local police or sheriff’s office will formally look into the matter to verify the death was natural. 

Call the Funeral Home

Hopefully your loved one had a last will and testament so you have direction for making the funeral arrangements. Soon after a loved one passes away decisions need to be made in terms of whether the body will be cremated or buried. From there you’ll need to select a funeral home and start making other arrangements in short order. The body may need to be taken to the morgue until the funeral home is selected. 

If you were able to have a doctor or hospice care facility pronounce the death at home, then the funeral home or crematorium should be able to make arrangements for transport. 

Be prepared to get all of this done within the first few hours of a loved one’s death. If you need help getting cremation arrangements scheduled you can call, text or email Green Cremation Texas any time of day. 
You can also read through our complete checklist of steps to take immediately after a death regardless of where your loved one passes away.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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