We know that losing a loved one makes for a difficult and emotional time, but there are certain legalities and administrative procedures which must be followed when someone dies.
This section includes some of the key things you'll need to know.
Hospital staff will contact the named 'next of kin'. This may be, but doesn't have to be a family relative of the deceased. Should you wish to do so, you can request to see the Hospital Chaplain.
The body will be kept in the hospital mortuary until the executor arranges for it to be taken away. This can be done by a Funeral Director, who will generally have a chapel of rest in which the body can be kept until the funeral. Families will be able to view the body of their loved one at the chapel of rest, if so required.
If someone has died somewhere else than in a hospital, you need to consider whether the death was expected or unexpected.
Expected death - Often, a death is expected and in such cases you should contact the doctor who attended the deceased during their final illness. If the doctor can certify the cause of death they will give you the following:
Unexpected death - If you discover a body, or the person's death is sudden or unexpected, you should contact the following people:
If you have any reason to suspect that the person's death was not due to natural causes, do not touch or remove anything from the room. In such cases, the death may be referred to the Coroner, and the doctor might ask the relatives for permission to carry out a post-mortem examination.
You will be advised by the Doctor if the death has to be reported to the Coroner, in which case the death cannot be registered nor the funeral take place without the Sunderland Coroner's authorisation.