When someone dies

If you are reading this, first of all, please accept our deepest condolences for the loss of the person you have been caring for. No matter how long someone’s illness, or how long you have had to prepare, the death of someone close can still be extremely distressing.

This guide has been prepared by Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, supported by Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund.

To download a PDF copy of the guide please click this link

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Initial practical advice and support

Practical necessities
Following the death of a relative or friend there are certain formalities that need attending to. The information below is offered as a guide.

Expected death
If your relative or friend’s death was expected the nurse or doctor will initially verify the death before the person can be moved. The Doctor who looked after him or her during their final illness will send the medical certificate that shows the cause of death to the registrar electronically.

Unexpected death
If your relative or friend’s death was sudden or unexpected, you should contact a doctor and the police. You will probably also want to contact close family immediately. If the cause of an unexpected death is quite clear, the doctor will send the medical certificate to the registrar electronically, if the doctor wants to know more about the cause of death they may carry out a post-mortem (medical) examination.

In certain circumstances – for example, if the cause of death is unknown, or if it was due to an accident or injury – the doctor may report it to the Coroner. The Coroner is a doctor or lawyer who looks into the cause of a death when more information is required before the death can be registered. If the examination shows that the death was due to natural causes, the Coroner will release the body for burial or cremation.

Choosing a funeral Director
The choice of a funeral director is something you should consider carefully, as it is important that you should feel comfortable and confident with them.
The funeral director may ask you questions regarding your relatives or friends wishes, therefore it may be useful to give this consideration before you meet. They may also be able to help with any questions you may have.

Please see the PDF guide for help with registering the death.

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Bereavement is something which most of us experience at some time in our lives. It can be hard to accept this loss and we may feel confused and overwhelmed by the sadness and different emotions that overtake us - this is grieving.

These pages describe some of the feelings that people may have when they grieve. Not everyone will experience all of these feelings, some will be felt more strongly than others and they may come in any order.

Grieving is a normal process and people will react differently in their own way. There is no time limit as to how long you may experience the feelings associated with grief, but you must allow yourself time.

Because we are individuals, we all have our own individual way of grieving, this may include some of the following: -

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You may not have any of these feelings and that is alright as everyone is different. It is important that you allow yourself to experience whatever feelings arise and share these with someone you feel you can speak to.

We have included some supportive contacts on the back page of our leaflet and more details regarding the emotional and spiritual support provided by the hospice team can be found by clicking this link