Therefore, knowing what actions to take is beneficial to make the process as smooth as possible. Here are the essential first steps to take after a loved one passes.
Legal Pronouncement of Death
The natural first step after a loved one passes away is obtaining a legal pronouncement of death. A doctor will typically perform the pronouncement, but in some instances, a registered nurse or physician’s assistant can do so.
If your loved one passes while in hospice, you must contact a hospice care nurse for a legal pronouncement of death.
And if someone dies at home or outside a medical facility, you need to call 911 immediately, and paramedics will arrive to perform resuscitation.
However, if your loved one has a do-not-resuscitate order, you must notify the paramedics of this information.
Transportation of the Body
Next, you’ll need to arrange transportation of the body. In most cases, the body of the passed individual will get picked up by a funeral home, crematorium, or mortuary. These facilities will then begin preparing the body for burial or cremation.
However, sometimes, a coroner or medical examiner will require the body to receive an autopsy. This process usually only occurs if nobody witnesses the death, it was due to a crime, happened under suspicious circumstances, or the cause of death needs further investigation.
In those cases, they’ll perform the autopsy before the body gets laid to rest.
Informing Friends and Family
You’ll also want to inform friends and family of the passing. This step can be a touchy one, as it’s a challenging task to undertake, but it’s an essential part of the process.
Handle this information as gently and compassionately as possible, and inform all necessary individuals closest to the passed individual. It can be beneficial to deliver this news in person, so you can console and comfort the person you are telling.
Some important people to inform of the passing are parents, siblings, children, next of kin, other family members, and close friends. You should also notify their place of employment, if applicable.
It’s helpful to understand the importance of seeking connections in times of grief so you can work through this challenging time together.
Funeral or Memorial Arrangements
Funeral or memorial arrangements will also need to be in order. Many people have an idea of their final wishes after death, so you should follow these instructions.
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However, some individuals may not have made any final arrangements, so you must handle them to the best of your ability and with the utmost respect.
Determine whether the person will get buried or cremated, where they will get laid to rest, or their ashes will get spread, and make the necessary funeral or memorial service arrangements.
Now that you know what steps to take when a loved one passes, you can handle this situation appropriately and respectfully. Give yourself the time to grieve as you work through this process and seek support in times of need.
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