At some point in our lives we will all experience bereavement. If bereavement occurs in Hospital, members of the Medical Team will be available to help you, however if the bereavement occurs at home, the following information provides some step-by-step guidance:
What do I do if there is an expected Death at home?
If possible during the Patient illness, try to discuss options available, such as the Patients final wishes, choice of burial or cremation and undertaker. We appreciate that this may be difficult, however when death occurs, this makes the most traumatic of arrangements easier to deal with.
Call the Surgery to request that your GP attends to certify that life has ended. If death occurs outside of normal Surgery hours, please contact our out of hour’s service on 111.
When the Doctor has confirmed that death has occurred, please contact your Undertaker. They will make arrangements to transfer the body to a Chapel of Rest and will arrange to discuss Funeral arrangements with you.
A Death Certificate will be provided by the Doctor, which usually follows on the next working day, providing that the death was expected and that the deceased had been seen by his/her GP up to 14 days prior to death. Prior arrangement can be made to collect the Death Certificate. On receipt, the Death must be registered with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages at Pontefract town hall 0345 4 852 888. On collection of the Death Certificate, you will be provided with details of the BDM Registrars opening hours and details they will require about the deceased. Once death has been registered, please advise the Undertaker who will then be able to proceed with funeral arrangements. Please remember that you may need duplicate copies of the Death Certificate to assist you with the affairs of the deceased in relation to Life Insurance, Bank & Pension arrangements.
What do I do if there is a sudden unexpected Death at Home?
If you are unsure that death has actually occurred i.e. Patient has collapsed, please call 999 immediately.
If you know that death has occurred, please contact the Surgery and ask for an immediate urgent visit, explaining your circumstances to the Receptionist.
The Doctor will attend and confirm that death has occurred, however as the death was unexpected, the Doctor has a legal duty to inform the Coroner or Police. Please do not be alarmed by this process, as this is a legal formality that must be followed when sudden unexpected death occurs. A Police Officer will attend and will need to discuss events leading up to death with friends and relatives. Once this process is complete, the Undertaker will be permitted to move the body to a Chapel of Rest.
The Coroner will discuss the event of death the with GP of the deceased. In some circumstances, the Coroner may permit the GP to issue a Death Certificate, however please do not be alarmed if this is not permitted at this stage, as it may be that the Doctor who certified death did not know the probable cause of death, or if the deceased had suffered from a specified Industrial Disease.
A Post-Mortem may be required to investigate the death further and to verify cause of death. You will be informed of this as the process usually requires consent from a spouse/partner or relative.
Once a Death Certificate has been issued, the Undertaker may proceed with Funeral Arrangements. Your GP will assist you in explaining the Death Certificate to you if required and will be able to answer any queries you may have.
In all cases, the Practice can offer bereavement counselling either through your GP or via a trained Counsellor. We would recommend that this process is considered as you may find it useful to discuss your feelings following the death of a loved one.
· Cruse Bereavement Charity - 0808 808 1677
· Age UK Bereavement support - 0800 169 65 65 / 01977 552114
· Sands - Offers support to parents, grandparents and their families when a baby dies during pregnancy or after birth. They can be contacted in the weeks, months or years after the loss. Tel: 0808 164 3332
· SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity Offers support and advice to anyone who has served in the armed forces or who has lost someone who served. Tel: 0800 731 4880
· Department for Work and Pensions Bereavement Service Carries out eligibility checks on surviving relatives to see what benefits they are entitled to. Also takes claims for bereavement benefits and Funeral Payments. Tel: 0800 731 0469