Sudden or Unexpected Death
If someone dies unexpectedly at home or in a care home, or if the likely cause of death may be related to their job, the deceased may need to be taken into the care of the Coroner.
When the Coroner is Involved?
There is a number of reasons why a death may be reported or referred to the Coroner. None of which should necessarily give cause for distress or concern.
What does the Coroner do?
The Coroner is an independent judicial officer, who is required to act when any sudden death occurs. It is the duty of the Coroner to ascertain the cause of death and to investigate any unusual circumstances.
Coroners officers who work on behalf of the Coroner, who usually investigate the death and report their findings accordingly.
What is the Coroners procedure?
Depending upon the Coroners findings there are three different procedures to follow:
1.No Post Mortem Examination
Following a simple investigation the Coroner may find that the death was due to natural causes and that the usual Doctor is able to issue a Medical Certificate (The Medical Certificate is sometimes referred to as the “Death Certificate”. It is usually in a sealed envelope addressed to the Registrar.)
2. A Post Mortem Examination
If a Doctor is unable to issue a Medical Certificate the Coroner may require a post- mortem examination. Consent from relatives is not required, but you can choose a Doctor to be present. The result of the post-mortem examination will usually indicate that the death was due to natural causes and there is no need for an inquest.
3. An Inquest
If the death was not due to natural causes (for example an accident) the Coroner is obliged to hold an Inquest. This is an inquiry to determine:
- The identity of the deceased
- When, where, and how the death occurred
- The cause of death
After opening the inquest and establishing the identity of the deceased, the Coroner may adjourn and allow the funeral to take place.
It may be sometime before the Inquest into the death is reopened to establish the cause of death.
The Coroners Officers and your Funeral Director will be able to advise you of any action that may be necessary.
The Coroner will also:
- Give free of charge, an order for Burial or Cremation
- Send a Certificate (After Inquest) to the Registrar, stating the cause of death
- Give, usually as a matter of course, a letter confirming the fact of death for Social Security and insurance benefit purposes
- Give permission for the body to be removed out of England and Wales
- Pay for the removal of the deceased from the place of death to the mortuary
If you require any further information please contact your Funeral Director or your local Coroners Office:
Manchester Coroners – Manchester City Coroner’s Office, PO Box 32, Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, M60 2LA. Get Directions.
Tel: 0161 219 2222
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 9.00am – 4.00pm
Cheshire Coroners – The West Annexe, Town Hall, Sankey Street, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 1UH
For cases in the Crewe are: Tel. 01925 442481 / 01925 442479
For cases in the Macclesfield area: Tel. 01925 442478 / 01925 442483
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 8.00am – 4.00pm
If this is the case family members may already have the information required for the steps needed to proceed. First notify your GP or if out of hours contact Doctors surgery for local Doctor to attend who would pronounce death.
At this point you would be given permission to contact us in order to arrange for your loved one to be transferred into the care of the Funeral Director.
Sudden or Unexpected
At this point family or person would contact the police who would determine procedure after that point. The attending Doctor or Medical Professional may instead have to inform the Coroner.
This will be in circumstances when further investigation may be necessary to establish the cause of death and the deceased may have to be taken into the care of the Coroner.
In these circumstances, the attending Doctor or Medical Professional will be able to advise you on what will happen next, although please do not hesitate to contact us for advice.
If family are present Care Home would arrange for a qualified medical person to attend to confirm that your loved one has passed. At this point you would give permission to Care Home to contact us allowing the transfer the deceased into our care.
We will liaise with the Care Home staff on your behalf and make the necessary arrangements for your loved one to be transferred into our care.
Most Care Homes would already keep notes on file about residents and their families’ wishes, for use in the event that a family member passes away. Notes that a Care Home might keep include details of which family member to contact, in the event of your loved one passing, or whether the family wish to be informed if they were to pass away in the middle of the night.
They should also find out which funeral home you would like them to contact; if you have a relative in a care home, it may be helpful to ensure that they know which funeral home they should contact at the appropriate time.
When a loved one passes in a General Hospital the ward staff will provide the family with all the details required. How to get in touch with the hospital’s Bereavement Centre.
After you contact us giving instruction that you wish us to take your loved into our care, we would contact the Hospital bereavement office on your behalf to order all necessary documentation required for the service to take place.
The Bereavement Centre in larger hospitals has the responsibility for liaising with the family on a variety of different matters – including counselling, the return of personal belongings to the family, certifying the death and making arrangements for the release of the deceased into the care of Memories Funeral Directors.
The Bereavement Centre staff may also ask if as a family you know if the funeral will be a burial or cremation. They will ask you this question because the type of funeral determines the type of paperwork that will be needed to enable the death to be certified.
The amount of time it takes hospitals to make the practical arrangements for a death to be certified and registered can vary, depending on the hospital and circumstances in which the death occurred. The Bereavement Centre will however be able to advise you on expected timescales for certifying and registering the death, when you attend your initial appointment. Once the death has been registered and The Bereavement Centre has received all of the relevant paperwork, we can (on your instruction) arrange for the deceased to be released into our care.
Some hospitals now have the facility to register the death at the hospital, and the Bereavement Centre staff will be able to give you all relevant information to organise this service for you. Email us on email@example.com or call on 0161 302 9753.
The death of a baby or child is always a tragic event for the parents and their wider family and friends.
At Memories we will do everything we can to advise and support the family during this difficult time and help to provide a fitting tribute to their life.
If a baby passes at home, the process for certifying and registering the death is the same as for an adult.
If a newborn baby passes in Hospital or is stillborn, the Hospital may offer a simple funeral service, which will often be held in conjunction with other families who have lost a baby. If you prefer to make your own arrangements for an individual funeral of your choice, you are free to do so with Memories.
Most hospitals have bereavement midwives who are specialists in being able to advise parents on the procedures for registering the death or stillbirth of a baby. The process may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the death. If the hospital is unable to provide specialist bereavement support, please contact us directly so we can help with advice and support.
The legal and practical requirements following the death of a child are the same as for an adult, even though the emotions and reactions may be very different.