When Death Occurs

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that is expected, 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

If the person was not under palliative care at home or a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Form has not been issued, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the coroner.  From there the coroner will determine whether further action is necessary.  The coroner must release the body before a funeral home can come to transfer the deceased.   If the person was under palliative care, contact the home care representative (nurse or nurse practitioner) if they were not present and they will tell family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

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 nursing home/hospice 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 at the nursing home/hospice or the death occurred at the hospital a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.

Informing a 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, arrange for burial/cremation, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service.  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

You should meet with a funeral director within 24 hours of a death to begin making 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 Address
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Marital Status
  • Date of Birth
  • City, Province, Country of Birth
  • Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
  • Father's Birth Place, Mother's Birth Place
  • Name of Spouse (if married, widowed or divorced)
  • If married, Spouse's SIN Number, Birth Place , Birth Date
  • Occupation and Employer

The funeral director will also need pertinent documents required to do all the legal paperwork, those documents include:

  • Last Will
  • Marriage License, if applicable
  • Cemetery Deed, if applicable

If no pre-planning has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service.  These include:

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.

Have a question? Ask the Director