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How Will I Know Death Has Occurred?

Even though death is expected, you may not be prepared for the actual moment it occurs. At the time of death:

The procedures followed prior to and after death by nurses, physicians and funeral directors will be different from county to county, and state to state. If your loved one is living with a terminal disease you should ask your physician, hospice group and funeral director what the procedures are in your area.

Remember: This is an expected death and no further medical intervention is required.
Do not call 911, the police of the fire department.

After Death Has Occurred

If you have health care professionals involved in the care of the dying person they should be notified of the death. They are available to provide you with emotional support and assistance regarding phone calls to the physician and the funeral home.

A physician must be called. This call is usually made by a nurse, hospice worker, or someone in authority  (police official if this is an unexpected death)  so that the cause of death can be certified.

At the same time, it is necessary to call your funeral provider to inform them that your loved one has died.

You may spend as much time as needed with the person you love. Do not be afraid to touch, hug or kiss the person. Some people may wish to lie down beside him/her.

A health care provider may also help with the safe, responsible way of storing and disposing of medication and equipment, but it is the family's responsibility to do so.

You may have dealt with many intense emotions and challenges in your journey through the loss of your loved one.

It is important to realize that grief is a highly personal response to life losses. Grief may last longer than society recognizes, so be patient with yourself and allow for the expression of feelings that you are feeling.