Immediately After a Death

The time after a death might be a peaceful time. You might also find it very distressing. At home there are things that you will need to organise. You may need to ring the doctor or palliative care nurse. Family and friends will often help you during this time. Sometimes just by being around.

It may help if you have a written plan of action prepared in advance. This could be a list of things to do, with names and phone numbers. Consider which family and friends you will need to phone.

An expected death is not an emergency. You don’t need to call for the police or for an ambulance. You may not want to be alone though. You can call a friend or family member to be with you. Ring the community nurse or the doctor to let them know what has happened. A doctor will need to come and certify the death. If the person was expected to die this is not urgent.

A doctor may have seen the person recently. If so, and they die at home during the night, it is possible to wait until morning to call the doctor. You may want to spend quiet time with the person who has died before you ring anyone.

If the death occurs in hospital (or an aged care facility or hospice) the nurses will explain what needs to be done. There are also things that will need to be planned for. This could be choice of funeral director, the funeral, and notifying family and friends.


Last updated 24 January 2017