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First Steps 

Who should I inform/contact if someone dies at home?

This depends on whether the death was sudden or expected.

If expected, the deceased will have been attended to by his or her GP recently. The first/initial call should be made to this doctor who will be required to visit the home to confirm death has occurred.

If calling the GP out of hours, an alternative number may be given to contact a locum doctor. The locum will visit to confirm death has occurred. Your GP should then be contacted the following morning to advise that death has occurred. Once death has been confirmed the funeral director should be called.

If unexpected, the first call should be made to the deceased’s G.P. who was attending during his or her last illness. The GP may advise that the family contact their nearest Garda Station, as the Gardai may wish to contact the Coroner.

If contacting the GP out of hours normally a number for an out of hours/locum doctor will be given; once contacted they will arrange for a doctor to call to the house. The funeral director should be contacted at this stage.

In the event of ant death at home the family may also wish to contact a Minister of their faith.

What is the normal procedure/process when someone dies in a hospital, hospice or nursing home?

Normally a doctor will be in attendance or called to confirm death. The doctor and or staff will confirm to the family whether or not a post mortem examination will be required. In most instances, this will not be necessary and the family are free to telephone their funeral director to make funeral arrangements.

If a Post Mortem is required is there likely to be a delay in organisation of the funeral arrangements?

Yes. When a post mortem examination is required, there would normally be a delay of 1-2 days. This may be extended if death occurs during a weekend or bank holiday. We will liaise with the hospital and Coroner and advise the family.

What is a post mortem?

A post mortem (sometimes called an autopsy) is an examination carried out by a pathologist after a death where is necessary to establish the medical cause of death.
The majority of deaths do not require any post mortem because the medical cause of death can be certified by a doctor who has been treating the deceased in the months prior to the death, i.e. a GP or hospital doctor.

What deaths must be reported to the Coroner?

There is detailed information available on the Coroners website.

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