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Hospice Green

What to do when someone dies in a hospice

Hospice Green

Hospices provide expert care for people with terminal illnesses. They look after their practical, medical, emotional, social and psychological needs to improve their quality of life for as long as possible. A person with an incurable disease may decide to receive hospice care at any stage of their condition, not necessarily at the end of their lives. That said, about 6% of Britons spend their final days in a hospice. The following guide should help you to understand what happens when someone close to you dies whilst under a hospice’s care. 

 

Seeking support

 

Harbour’s team are highly experienced when it comes to bereavement and loss. We can help you by offering advice and making funeral arrangements. If you would like to get in touch with our warm and compassionate team, you can reach us on 0800 133 7961 or send an email to [email protected].

 

First response

 

If someone dies in a hospice, staff members will contact the next of kin. They should provide some support and be there to offer any assistance. 

 

A doctor or nurse at the hospice caring for the individual who has died will also confirm the death. If the death was expected, they will usually issue a Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD). The doctor should send the MCCD directly to the local registrar. 

 

In cases where the death was unexpected or the cause is not apparent, they may have to contact a coroner. The coroner will open an inquest and may have to perform a post-mortem examination to determine the exact cause of death. After this has been established, they can inform the next of kin that the body may be released to the funeral director. 

 

Collecting the deceased

 

If you are responsible for organising the funeral, you will need to arrange for a funeral director to collect the deceased from the hospice. 

 

If you choose a direct cremation with Harbour, we can drive to the hospice and transport the body to our regional crematorium. Many hospices have an onsite mortuary and we can collect your loved one as part of our low-cost £895 fee. However, if the hospice does not have its own mortuary, the collection will incur an additional fee of £250 as it requires us to partner with a local funeral director.

 

You will also need to arrange to collect your loved one’s personal items from the hospice at some point.

 

Register the death

 

It is very important that you register the death within five days in the UK (with the exception of Scotland where the law gives you eight days). You must complete this once the cause of death has been determined by the doctor. This step is not necessary, however, if the coroner has been involved.

 

Registering a death can take place over the phone but you must call the nearest registrar office to the hospice where your friend or family member died. The hospice can direct you to this or you can look it up with the government’s official search tool here.

 

After registering a death, you will receive a death certificate and a Certificate for Burial or Cremation. The death certificate is an essential document for settling bank accounts, mortgages, wills or other legal affairs. You must give the Certificate for Burial or Cremation to your funeral director to enable the burial or cremation, including direct cremation, to go ahead.

 

Some registrars will simply forward the Certificate for Burial or Cremation to the funeral service provider. If you choose Harbour, you can give them our email address [email protected] and our phone number 0800 133 7961.

 

Informing the government 

 

Another crucial step is to inform the government about the death. Fortunately, this is made easy by the Tell Us Once service, available here. It automatically informs HMRC, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Passport Office and several other crucial governmental departments.

 

Arranging the funeral

 

Arranging the funeral itself is the final step when someone close to you dies. It is a chance to commemorate the person’s life and send them a final farewell. Some people provide clear instructions regarding their funeral; others leave it up to their family to decide. 

 

Direct cremations separate the cremation itself from any accompanying service. This leaves you free to organise your own highly personalised commemoration. Harbour guarantees to provide the cheapest direct cremation service in England and Wales. 

 

Find out more or begin arranging a direct cremation with Harbour by calling 0800 133 7961.

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