What to do when death occurs at home or away from a health care facility

Sudden, unexpected death

In the case that death occurs unexpectedly, call 911 for an ambulance immediately.

Expected death

When someone who has been terminally ill dies at home, call 911 to summon paramedics, who will be needed to pronounce the person dead.  An exception is Hospice patients, who should call their Hospice nurse.

You will need to give the paramedics the name of the deceased’s physician, who will sign the death certificate. When death occurs at home or away from a health care facility, a deputy sheriff will make the death report, and the remains will be taken to the medical examiner’s office. After the body has been released by the medical examiner, the funeral home will arrange further services.

caring-for-parent-elder-senior-handsMaking Final Arrangements

When death occurs in the hospital, the family must make arrangements with the funeral home. Funeral homes can be contacted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They will make an appointment with the family to discuss options and meanwhile will transport the body to their facility.

In cases where the remains are to be transferred out of the area, local funeral homes can handle the details, and will charge a modest fee.

Although it involves a confrontation with mortality that some may find uncomfortable, making advance arrangements can be helpful. Doing so will relieve the survivors of a difficult task at an emotionally trying time, and allows the deceased a role in making choices.

Death Certificates

After being signed by a physician indicating the cause of death, a death certificate is filed with the Manatee County Health Department’s Vital Statistics unit.  Copies may be obtained in person or online. Requests must include the name of the deceased, his/her date of birth, the inquirer’s relationship to the deceased and purpose for which the request is being made.

Certificates are generally issued five days from the date of death. For privacy reasons, cause of death will not be reported after six months.

There is a fee of $6.00 for each copy.