It doesn’t matter whether a death is sudden or something that lingered, the loss of a loved one is often emotional and overwhelming. No amount of preparation can fully prepare for the loss. Also, when you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering.
The following are guidelines on what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.
When Death Occurs at Home or a Place of Business
If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately. The police will be dispatched to the home and will place the call to the coroner/medical examiner. The coroner/medical examiner will pronounce the death and call a funeral home to transport the deceased either to the office of the coroner/medical examiner or to a funeral home. Families have the right to choose any funeral home they desire to transport and care for their loved one. Even if you haven't made prior arrangements, you can call us, 24 hours a day at (540) 321-4778.
If the person was under hospice care, contact the hospice representative and they will notify family members of what procedures to follow.
When Death Occurs at a Hospital, Nursing home or Hospice Facility
The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify the person of record and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred. If a funeral home has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, they will be notified at the time of death. If you are present at the hospital when the funeral director arrives, they will ask a few questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time for you to come into the funeral home to make arrangements. However, if you are not present, a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss the arrangements. Families are generally asked to identify which funeral home they want to use within an hour of the death. Even if you haven't made prior arrangements, you can call us, 24 hours a day at (540) 321-4778.
When Death Occurs Unexpectantly Elsewhere
In these situations, immediately call 911. The police and emergency medical personnel will then determine the appropriate steps to be taken. Often, the police can release the remains directly to our funeral home. However, in certain cases, the body may need to go to the medical examiner's office so that they can determine the cause of death. Even if you haven't made prior arrangements, you can call us, 24 hours a day at (540) 321-4778.
When Death Occurs Out Of State
If death occurs out of state, the coordination of a funeral home in each city will be necessary. We have relationships with world-wide agencies that specialize in shipping remains home. Give us a call. We are willing and able to assist you. Even if you haven't made prior arrangements, you can call us, 24 hours a day at (540) 321-4778.
Inform a Funeral Director
Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you place should be to a funeral director. Our funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.
Meet with a Funeral Director
You should meet with a funeral director within 24 hours of a death to begin to make final arrangements for your loved one. Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in a heightened emotional state, but our staff has years of experience dealing with these issues and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
Make the Final Arrangements
First the funeral director will gather information required for the death certificate. This includes:
- Full name and address
- Highest level of education
- Father's name, mother's name (including maiden name)
- Name of spouse (if married or widowed)
- Occupation and employer
- Military history
If you wish to use life insurance to pay for the arrangements, be sure to bring a copy of your policy with you when you meet with the funeral director.
Other items to bring to the funeral home include:
- A photo of the deceased
- Clothes for the deceased. If embalming is desired, a high neckline or scarf should be used
- Make-up the deceased used, if desired
- Military discharge document, DD214
- Marriage certificate, if wishing to utilize the Veteran's cemetery
If no pre-planning has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service. These include:
- Selecting burial or cremation
- Scheduling the location, date, and time for the services
- Choosing funeral products
- Arranging for the funeral clergy
- Arranging a cemetery plot
A funeral director will guide you through all these steps, using your wants, needs, and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral. From here the funeral services can be personalized. Did your loved one have a favorite sports team? What was his favorite type of music? What activity was she known best for? Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and helps add a uniqueness to the celebration of your loved ones' life.
Tibbs Funeral Home & Cremation is available to assist you. Contact Us.