Although most individual pass away in hospitals and nursing homes, a good number of people die in their homes. It can be disconcerting to have the person you love suddenly slip away. However, there are several things you must do after the event to prevent problems from occurring and ensure your loved one receives the utmost care possible.
Contact the Authorities
The first thing you need to do is report the death to the authorities. If the person was under a doctor's care due to a terminal illness, then call the physician as well. This is critical for the issuing of the death certificate.
The police and the paramedics will typically be the first ones on the scene and the medical tech will confirm the person has passed away. The police will usually ask a few questions about the circumstances of the person's death. If there doesn't appear to be any problems, the officer will make arrangements to have someone remove the body from the house.
If you have a particular funeral home you want to work with, let the police know so they can contact the right people; otherwise, you can have your loved one taken to a mortuary until you can make arrangements with a funeral home to collect the body in preparation for the burial.
There will be quite a few people traipsing through the home during this time and bringing in an assortment of equipment. It's a good idea to move furniture around to make it easier for the authorities to work. The faster they can get their work done, the sooner they'll leave and let you and the other family members deal with the aftermath of your loved one's passing.
Gather the Appropriate Paperwork
The second thing you need to do is gather together the paperwork to help you make decisions on your loved one's behalf. For instance, if the person prepaid for his or her funeral expenses, you'll need to obtain the contract and receipts so you can make the necessary arrangements with the funeral home.
This is also a good time to determine which services your loved one may be eligible for. Veterans are entitled to up to $2,000 in burial benefits, for example. Many programs like this have deadlines by which you must file the appropriate documents, so it's important to get started as soon as possible to avoid losing financial assistance that can help you pay for your loved one's funeral services.
For help planning a funeral or more information about handling a loved one dying at home, contact a local funeral director.