First things first

Even if it was expected, a death at home can be very upsetting.

It’s perfectly ok to take a moment to yourself before you do anything else. Or you might want to ask a close friend or family member to be with you.

When you feel ready, follow the steps below. Remember, if you’re unsure about anything, just give us a call.

If the death was expected:

Step 1 – Call the doctor (the GP)

First you need to call the deceased person’s GP.

If you call during surgery hours, the GP will normally come to the house to certify the death and issue a death certificate giving the cause of death (officially called the Medical Certificate of Death).

If you call out of normal surgery hours, an out-of-hours doctor will visit the house but the certificate will be issued later, when the surgery re-opens.

Sometimes you have to go to the surgery to pick up the certificate.

If the death was unexpected:

(or the deceased hasn’t seen their GP in the past 14 days)

Step 1 – Call an ambulance

Call an ambulance. (A doctor can’t issue a certificate if they’re unsure of the cause of death. In this case, you need a coroner to establish the cause of death.) The deceased will be taken to the Coroner’s mortuary where a post mortem may be carried out.

Once the death is officially confirmed:

Step 2  – Call us.

We’ll talk you through what happens next and the first decisions you need to make.

Please remember you can call us at any time before this point, if you want some extra support or guidance while the cause of death is confirmed.