Anyone who has dealt with the death of a loved one knows how stressful and overwhelming it can be. On top of the grief and shock, there are also logistical issues to take care of, and one of these is the question of what happens to the body.
There are many factors that go into answering this question. Most of all, it depends on where the person passed away.
In this article, we'll talk about some of the possibilities and how they’re usually dealt with, and explain some of the confusing elements involved.
At a Nursing Home or Private Hospital
If your loved one passed away at a nursing home or private hospital, and you aren't already there, the staff will usually contact the person's next of kin and the nominated funeral director.
At this point, you might want to spend some time with your loved one or wait until other friends and relatives arrive. If that's the case, make sure you let the staff know so they can inform the funeral director.
It shouldn't cost money to transfer your loved one to a funeral home. For example, at Townsville
Cremations all we require is either:
- A Cause of Death Certificate signed by the attending doctor
- A Life Extinct Certificate, usually signed by a registered nurse
As soon as we have one of these documents we can bring your loved one into our care. Most nursing homes and some private hospitals don't have their own holding facilities, so this is an important step.
In a Public Hospital
If your loved one passed away in a public hospital, the hospital administration will take care of formalities like the Cause of Death Certificate. In this case, it’s the family's responsibility to contact the funeral director. The Townsville Hospital administration normally takes 3 working days to issue the Form 9 Cause of Death certificate.
At Home under Palliative Care
The first thing you should do in this instance is contact the palliative care nurse. For this reason, it's important to make sure you have both daytime and after-hours contact numbers so you're prepared for any eventuality.
The palliative care nurse will arrive and verify that death has occurred, and also assist with any preparations required. For example, they'll issue a Life Extinct Certificate and contact the attending doctor.
If you need some time for relatives and friends to come and say their goodbyes, the person's body can stay at home in a cool, dry room for as long as you wish, although it is recommended to turn off or remove, any sources of heat.
At Townsville Cremations, we can transfer the deceased into our care as soon as we have a Cause of Death Certificate or a Life Extinct Certificate.
At Home Unexpectedly
If someone appears to have passed away at home unexpectedly, you'll need to call an ambulance on 000 as quickly as possible. In Queensland, ambulance personnel can verify that
death has occurred.
If the death is of a sudden or unexpected nature, the ambulance personnel will usually call the police so they can assess the situation. This is nothing to worry about and simply a legal
If the police believe there are no suspicious circumstances, they will contact your Family doctor to sign a Cause of Death Certificate Form 9 the next day. Once the Police have received the notification from the Family Doctor, you can contact Townsville Cremations on (07) 4779-5566.
If the Police Believe There Are Suspicious Circumstances Surrounding the Death
It may be that the police have reason to believe the death of your loved one is suspicious. Another possible issue here is that the treating doctor is unable or unwilling to sign the Cause of Death Certificate Form 9.
In this case, the police will contact the government undertaker to transfer the deceased person to the government mortuary. Important note — The Government undertakers ARE NOT to hand out business cards or tell you that you must use them, this is illegal under the State of Qld Coronial Act Their only role in this situation is to transfer the deceased to the government mortuary.
Another possible scenario is if the attending doctor could not be reached at first but later agrees to sign the Cause of Death Certificate. In this case, a post mortem will not be carried out, and you can contact your funeral service.
If a post-mortem is required to determine the cause of death, the coroner will arrange this. Once this has been performed, the deceased will be made available for release with a Coroner's Order normally two days after the autopsy.
This is where our staff would submit the appropriate paperwork to obtain the Coroner's Order and then take the deceased into our care. At any stage of this process, you can contact our staff for support, advice, and guidance.
If You Are Not Sure
Determining what happens with the body of a loved one can be incredibly confusing, stressful, and demanding.
You can contact Townsville Cremations at any time of day or night on (07) 4779-5566, and we will help you. We can organise a convenient time for you to make any funeral arrangements, and guide you through the situation you are in.
What kind of information will you need?
We will require information about the deceased such as:
- Full name
- Residential address
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Details of any marriage and any children along with their names and dates of birth.
We also need to know who will authorise us to carry out the funeral service. This person is known as the Applicant and will be legally and financially responsible for the funeral arrangements. Details of the Applicant we require include:
- Full name
- Residential address
- Contact numbers
- Photo identification (including date of birth)
It would also be helpful if you gathered the information that is required to register a death in Queensland. You can find these details and other information in our Funeral Pre Plan Booklet.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about how we can help you arrange the funeral of your loved one, get in touch.