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What To Do When A Death Occurs

A death has just occurred: what do you do? Our suggestion is to first stop and take a breath.


Take the time you need in the moment that surrounds you.


Nothing needs to be done so immediately that you can not allow yourself time with your loved one. 


Some people like to stay in the room and others do not; that is completely your decision and you should proceed however you’re most comfortable.


If your loved one is at home and there are people who would like to come and say goodbye to them, now would be the time for those notifications. Some people choose to hold a formal time for people to come to say goodbye while others save this opportunity for close family to sit with the body and console each other. 


If the death occurs or seems likely to occur in the hospital or other long term care facility, make the staff aware of the customs and rituals you wish to take place. You can also alert them to your funeral home provider once you have made that decision. 


If the death was unexpected, most times you will need to call 911 or emergency services so that a professional can officially pronounce the death. You can notify the emergency services on the call that a death has occured and to please come quietly without lights and sirens. Usually, once an officer has attended, they are more than happy to help make sure the family wishes are fulfilled.


Once you have alerted Return Home to the passing of your loved one, the process starts with a conversation with someone from our services team to discuss what you and your family need at that moment.


Return Home has specifically designed our services to make what your family needs possible. Our funeral professionals have extensive expertise that can help you make plans to keep your loved one at home for an extended period of time before the terramation process begins. This could include helping facilitate an at-home bathing, cooling the body for an at-home wake, or celebrant services for an at-home funeral. The options truly depend on the needs of you and your family.


When you and your family are ready, we will dispatch our team to bring your loved one into our care, another point in the process that you are welcome to have as much or as little participation in as you wish. Some people have even brought their loved ones to us as a final act of love and service! 


Once your loved one is in our care, one of our funeral directors will take time with you to plan a truly meaningful farewell. 


When a death occurs, take a breath. Let us take you by the hand and guide you.

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