What happens when someone dies at home

- 23/11/21

Unlike when a death occurs in a care home or a hospital, you’ll likely not have anyone around you who can provide professional advice. That’s why it’s important to know what you’ll need to do before that happens.

While the processes you need to follow after a death differ between England and Wales and Scotland, most of the steps are quite similar. Here’s what you can expect to happen:

1 - Register the death

When someone has died at home, you’ll need to let the right people know that a death has occurred, and ideally get it confirmed by a medical professional, before you’re able to move ahead with transferring the deceased into the care of a funeral director and starting funeral planning. Once the cause of death has been confirmed, you’ll need to register the death. You won’t be able to get a Certificate for Burial or Cremation if you haven’t registered the death.

2 - Contact a funeral director

Once the death’s confirmed, you’ll need to contact a funeral director to arrange for the transport and care of the deceased until the day of the funeral. There’s no need to move the deceased if you’re uncomfortable or unable to do so. When the funeral team arrive they’ll manage the entire process of collecting and moving the deceased. If the deceased had a prepaid funeral plan, all you need to do is contact the plan provider with the relevant details and they’ll do the rest. If not, you’ll need to instruct a funeral director who’s able to support your needs. Once you’ve picked your funeral provider and let them know what’s happened, they’ll make arrangements to come to the home and collect the deceased.

3 - Take the deceased into care

When the funeral director arrives at the home, they’ll speak to you and any other family present, making you aware of what’s happening in the moment and what will happen next.
They’ll remove the deceased from the home and transfer them into either the care of a coroner, if necessary, or straight to their mortuary facilities. Try not to be too alarmed if a coroner’s services are needed – if a death was unexpected or suspicious then it's automatically referred to a coroner to determine an accurate cause of death.

4 - Let the funeral directors prepare the deceased

Once in the care of the funeral director they’ll take care of looking after the deceased and preparing them for the funeral. Depending on your wants and needs, this can include processes like embalming and removing medical instruments such as pacemakers.

Your funeral director will also wash the deceased, wash and brush their hair and then dress them ahead of the funeral. If you provide a specific outfit you’d like the deceased to be buried in, your funeral provider will take care of all the necessary arrangements for you.

5 - Arrange the funeral

While the deceased is being cared for, your provider will help you to arrange the funeral and support you each step of the way. From assistance with paperwork to advising you on funeral provisions, your funeral provider will take care of all of the arrangements on your behalf, allowing you to grieve without the added stress of planning a funeral alone.

At Distinct Cremations, we understand that there’s a lot to think about when someone dies at home, and that this can be a difficult and stressful time. That’s why our specialist team is on hand to help guide you through the entire process from start to finish.

Give us a call to discuss your preferences today.

Distinct Cremations is a trading name of Distinct Cremations Limited I Registered in England, No. 13366310 and Distinct Funeral Plans Limited (Prepaid Funeral plan provider) I Registered in England, No. 13366327 | Registered Office Westerleigh Crematorium, Westerleigh Road, Bristol BS37 8QP | Part of the Westerleigh Group |