What To Do When Death Occurs
There are few things in life more traumatic than the death of a family member. The following sections will explain what to do when a death occurs.
It is recommended that, when death occurs at home and the deceased was not under the care of a physician or hospice, that the police should be notified. The Code of Virginia directs that, when death may be the result of violence, trauma, suspicious circumstances, when the deceased was in apparent good health, or not under a doctor's care, the medical examiner must be notified. The police, funeral director or attending physician will do this, if necessary.
Regardless of when and where a death occurs, the family should call us as soon a possible. At that time we will ask some specific questions, such as the name and location of the family member who passed away, the name of the attending physician and the name of the next of kin. We will also ask about the type of funeral service the family is considering so that we may begin any necessary procedures as expediently as possible. If you are undecided on the type of service, you need not make any immediate decisions. We will allow you adequate time to make them and provide you with prices of various options ahead of time to assist you. Finally, we will set up a convenient appointment time to make the actual arrangements.
When a death occurs in a hospital or nursing home, there is little the family needs to do other than to call us. The medical staff at the health care facility will take the necessary steps to ensure that all legal requirements are met. Although some health care facilities will call the funeral home on behalf of the family, this is the exception rather than the rule. To be safe, it is best that the family calls us directly.
If a sudden death occurs outside of a health care facility, the best advice is to call 911 to dispatch local police to the scene. The police will then determine the appropriate steps to take depending upon the particular situation. In the case of a nonsuspicious death of an apparently healthy individual, the police would call the State Medical Examiner's office and await instructions. The Medical Examiner, depending upon the circumstances, may require that an autopsy be performed. If the death was suspicious in nature, then the Medical Examiner would in all likelihood order an autopsy.
If the death of a family member is anticipated, it is wise to begin thinking about the final arrangements in advance. We frequently meet with the family prior to the death to begin the process of gathering the needed information and discussing the services. In this way, the family is not overwhelmed with making numerous important decisions at the time of death. To the begin the arrangement process, just give us a call. Alternatively, you can start the process by filling out our on-line form.
>>Death Away From Home information