Family Emergency


Nothing adequately prepares us for the initial shock of losing a loved one to death.  Feelings of panic and helplessness may be overwhelming, but it's important to know you are not alone.  It is important to reach out to close relatives, friends, and professionals for the help, support, and comfort you need.  Notifying family & friends is always an important consideration in the initial tasks to be completed.  Call immediate family members first, parents, children, brothers, sisters and grandparents of the deceased.  Again, do not worry about waking others.  Grief researchers say those close to the deceased feel left out if they aren't told about death immediately.  Rely on others to assist you in notifying everyone, do not attempt to do this yourself.  It not only helps others through the grieving process to have some responsibility, but also allows you to carry on with other tasks.  Although it may be difficult, telling others of a death is therapeutic.  Saying aloud that a loved one has died, the death is confirmed in your mind - an important step in the grief process.

There is so much to be done in what seems like so little time.  The emotional impact of death understandably makes it difficult to focus on the details that go into organizing a funeral.  By clicking on the resource centre on the left of the page, you open a wealth of information and guidance to assist you through all of your needs.

1. When death occurs at home, what should we do?
 
2. If we are on vacation, and a death occurs, what should we do?
 
3. A loved one has died at the hospital, where do we turn?
 
4. A loved one has died in the nursing home, what should we do first?
 

Question #1When death occurs at home, what should we do?
Answer:If the death has been expected, the physician caring for the deceased will be able to pronounce the death and this is the person you should first contact.  Do not call 9-1-1, the police, fire, or ambulance.  You can then call the funeral home of your choice to remove the body and follow the personal wishes of the deceased.  If the death is unexpected, the police should be notified.  They will in turn dispatch an officer and contact a local coroner or medical examiner who will then decide the level of investigation necessary to determine the cause of death.  They will arrange to have the body transferred to the either a hospital or examination centre if an autopsy is required (at their cost). You may suggest to the coroner or medical examiner the funeral home of your choice to make this transfer, however if you do not or they wish to use their own personnel, you are under no obligation to use the funeral home they choose.  Once the body has been transferred and the examination complete you have the right to choose the funeral home you wish to carry out the deceased's final wishes.  If after a preliminary examination and investigation it is determined no further inquiry is necessary, you may then call the funeral home of your choice to remove the body and carry out the deceased's final wishes.

Question #2If we are on vacation, and a death occurs, what should we do?
Answer:If a death was to occur away from the home, i.e. during a vacation or a business trip, then we suggests that you do a few things first.
Call your funeral home.  They will take care of making the necessary contact with a reputable firm in the area that the death occurred.

This action will avoid any possibility of becoming involved with a funeral home outside of your residential area that may care little about matters because they feel they will not ever deal with the family again.  When calling your funeral home, we can act as your agent, monitoring and avoiding any possibility of excessive, unnecessary or double-billing possibilities.

If the death was sudden and unexplained, the local police authorities will make the necessary call to the local coroner to attend to the place of death.

If you have not called your funeral director, you will have to consider doing so as the body will have to be removed by them or an authorized agent.  Regrettably, there have been circumstances where police and or coroners have called a funeral home of their choice.  While we will not speculate on the motives, often families find themselves being pressured by a funeral home that was called to the scene.  

Question #3A loved one has died at the hospital, where do we turn?
Answer:Whether or not you are present when the death occurs a health care professional will contact you.  One of the questions they will ask you is which funeral service provider will you be releasing the body to, for transfer from the hospital.  Although the hospital often initiates the first call to the funeral home, it is always a good idea to contact the funeral home directly.  Do not hesitate to call the funeral home through the night if that is when you wish to make contact with them.

Question #4A loved one has died in the nursing home, what should we do first?
Answer:If you have not called your funeral director, you will have to consider doing so as the body will have to be removed by them or an authorized agent.  Although the nursing home staff may initiate the first call to the funeral home, it is still recommended that you contact the funeral home directly once you are prepared to do so.