FAMILY EMERGENCY - What To Do First

Nothing adequately prepares us for the initial shock of losing a loved one to death. Feelings of panic and helplessness may be overwhelming, but it's important to know you are not alone. It is important to reach out to close relatives, friends, and professionals for the help, support, and comfort you need. Notifying family and friends is always an important consideration in the initial tasks to be completed. Call immediate family members first: parents, children, brothers, sisters and grandparents of the deceased. Again, do not worry about waking others. Grief researchers say those close to the deceased feel left out if they aren't told about death immediately. Rely on others to assist you in notifying everyone: do not attempt to do this yourself. It not only helps others through the grieving process to have some responsibility, but also allows you to carry on with other tasks. Although it may be difficult, telling others of a death is therapeutic. Saying aloud that a loved one has died confirms the death in your mind - an important step in the grief process.

So much to be done in what seems like so little time. The emotional impact of death understandably makes it difficult to focus on the details that go into organizing a funeral.  Also by clicking on the resource center on the home page, you open a wealth of information and guidance to assist you through all of your needs.

When death occurs at home, what should we do? If the death has been expected, the physician caring for the deceased will be able to pronounce the death and this is the person you should first contact. You can then call the funeral home of your choice to follow the personal wishes of the deceased.   

If the death is unexpected, the police should be notified by calling 911. They will in turn dispatch an officer and contact a local coroner or medical examiner who will then decide the level of investigation necessary to determine the cause of death. If an autopsy is required, they will arrange to have your loved one transferred to a hospital or examination center at their cost. You may suggest to the coroner or medical examiner the funeral home of your choice to make this transfer, however if you do not or they wish to use their own personnel, you are under no obligation to use the funeral home they choose. Once the examination is complete you have the right to choose the funeral home you wish to carry out the deceased's final wishes. If after a preliminary examination and investigation it is determined no further inquiry is necessary, you may then call the funeral home of your choice to carry out the deceased's final wishes.

If we are on vacation, and a death occurs what should we do? If a death occurs away from the home, contact the local police department and they will dispatch an officer to your location immediately so you will not be alone. If the death was sudden and unexplained, the local police authorities will make the necessary call to the local coroner to attend to the place of death.

We also suggest you call Bradley & Hadley Funeral Home first. We will take care of making the necessary contact with a reputable firm in the area that the death occurred. Calling us allows us to act as your agent, monitoring and avoiding excessive or unnecessary billing.

A loved one has died at the hospital, where do we turn? Whether or not you are present when the death occurs a health care professional will contact you and ask a few questions. Two of the questions you may be asked area:  

  1. Which funeral service provider will you be releasing your loved one to for transfer from the hospital? 
  2. Would you like an autopsy performed? Unless your loved one has died unexpectedly, you will have the choice. An autopsy is the thorough examination of the deceased body, to understand and determine the cause of death or any factors that may have contributed towards the cause of death. The information resulting from an autopsy can help researchers in developing cures and medications to assist in the preventions of such diseases. Autopsies are generally performed quickly, as to not interfere with the funeral process, however you may experience some short delays and should check with the health care professional as to when you can expect the autopsy to be completed if a delay is of concern to you. 

A loved one has died in the nursing home, what should we do first? If you have not called your funeral director, you may do so at this time. Often the nursing staff will assist you with making this call.