When someone dies in hospital
What happens when someone dies in hospital?
When a loved one has died at the hospital, the next of kin will be informed by the staff caring for them. The hospital will be able to explain and guide you through the next steps. Hospital staff are trained to provide both practical and emotional support in this situation. When someone dies in hospital, the deceased will not be released into our care until the necessary paperwork is completed, including the Medical Certificate of Death to register the death.
Where will my loved one’s body be kept?
Some hospitals have a chapel of rest where the body will be kept. This is a peaceful place, away from the bustle of the hospital. If you prefer, a funeral director can take the body to their chapel of rest until the funeral.
What to do after a death in a hospital
You will need a Medical Certificate of Death (death certificate) from the attending doctor if there is a known cause of death. Bear in mind that this may take a while. Doctors work in shift patterns and you may need to wait for the same doctor to be back at work.
If the cause of death is unknown the hospital will ask the next of kin’s permission to carry out a post-mortem examination. If the doctor is unsure of the cause of death, they might contact the coroner who may order an inquest to determine the cause of death.
Remember to collect any of the personal items, belonging to your loved one, from their hospital stay. Staff in the hospital will take care of any belongings before you pick them up and issue a receipt when the belongings are collected for your records.
Give us a call so we can talk you through the first steps towards arranging the funeral and bringing the deceased into our care.
What the hospital needs to know
The hospital will ask you:
- For our details (as the named funeral director).
- Whether the funeral will be burial or cremation.
If you decide on a burial, the deceased will be released into our care as soon as the doctor has completed the cause of death certificate.
If you decide on cremation, there will be some extra paperwork that the hospital will need to complete before they will release the deceased into our care.
(Namely: Form 4: A Certificate of Medical Attendant, Form 5: Confirmatory Medical Certificate along with the cause of death certificate.)
Organ and body donation
Before someone dies, they might have wished to donate their organs or body to medical science. If you know this is the case, let the hospital know as soon as possible. If you are unsure, the hospital may have a record of this choice. The hospital will never take organs without explicit permission.
If someone close to you has recently passed away and you are experiencing bereavement, counselling and support are available. Speak to your family GP to learn more about the services available or get in touch with a local bereavement group, we host bereavement groups across Dorset.
If you are unsure about what to do when someone dies in hospital and are looking for further support, you can call us any time, we are open 24 hours. We are here to ensure you get the right guidance and support in this difficult time.
We understand that paying for the funeral can sometimes be difficult, if you are worried about the cost of a funeral we will talk you through the options available to you.