Who Do You Call When Someone Dies at Home?

Jun 19, 2023

The passing of a loved one, whether at home or in a hospice or hospital, puts you in a worrying position. Depending on whether the death was expected or unexpected will determine the next steps that you need to take immediately after the death of a loved one at home. Any professional will help you if you ring them, but it can be useful to know what to do should a death occur at home. If someone passes away in a hospital or hospice, the professionals will be on hand to talk you through each step and tell you what to do next. It can feel more complicated to know what to do if your loved one passes away at home.

Immediate Steps to Take When Someone Dies at Home

If the passing was expected, for example, your loved one was receiving palliative care at home in their final days, then call your doctor or the district nursing team. If it is out of hours, then you should be able to contact an out-of-hours doctor. If the deceased was receiving support from a hospice, then they will also be there to support you. If the death was unexpected, then you need to call the emergency services and explain the situation. They will advise you on what to do and will dispatch the relevant emergency services to your home. You will need to call close family immediately and other family members and friends at a later date, to tell them about the death. The professionals that are dealing with it, will talk you through the process and the next steps to take. Good local funeral directors, such as ourselves here at NC Funeral Directors, will explain the process and help you throughout this time. Once you have a death certificate, you can register the death and begin informing all the necessary authorities.

Who is the First Person to Call?

This does depend on the circumstances. If the passing was expected, then you may want to call a loved one before you call the doctor. If the death is unexpected, it is best to call the emergency services before you call anyone else.

Should the Police be Called When Someone Passes at Home?

If the passing is unexpected, then call 999. The 999 call handler is trained to advise on the necessary emergency services. It will depend on the circumstances whether they send police, along with an ambulance. Try to explain clearly what has happened to the 999 operator so that they can provide you with the best support.

Who to Call When Someone Dies Naturally at Home?

If the death was expected, for example, someone with a terminal disease who had chosen to die at home, then you will need to contact their doctor or the hospice team who had been supporting them. If they were not expected to die, you will need to call 999. Don’t worry if you call the wrong people, as whomever you call will help you.

Who to Call When An Elderly Person Passes at Home?

In general, elderly people will see their doctors regularly. Call the doctors and they will help you. If you are unsure if an elderly person has seen a doctor recently, then you may need to call 999. The doctors will advise if any investigation into their death is needed. It does depend upon their general state of health and when they last saw a doctor.

Support for Coping with a Death at Home

Death is always a sad occurrence, even when it is expected. If you have been caring for a loved one at home during their final weeks, you will be expecting the death, but it will still be a shock. Shock reduces our ability to think clearly, and in this state, it can be easy to panic and act without thinking. If you ring 999, and they want you to ring your doctor, they will just tell you. The 999 operators are trained to deal with people in stressful situations, they will be kind and compassionate. If you ring the doctors, and they feel that the death was not expected, they may advise you to call 999. Whoever you ring will provide you with compassionate and constructive support during this difficult time. If you or your loved one had planned their funeral, you may ring your local funeral home such as ourselves. We will also provide you with empathy and support, and advise you on who to call.

Never feel that you have done something wrong, or inconvenienced anyone. Death is always difficult, and it can be hard to work out who to call after someone passes away at home. If you can’t remember what to do when someone dies, call a close family member and ask them for help.

Discover the essential steps to take when faced with the loss of a loved one.