Written by Sam Reyes-Godbee
The lives of the families you serve are forever changed the moment their loved one passes away; there is no denying that. In that painful moment and the ones immediately following, your goal is to ensure that they don’t feel encumbered or weighed down with worry about what comes next.
In order to empower these families in the event that their loved one passes away at home without a healthcare professional present and they need to call you for assistance, here are some important things for them to know in advance so that they can feel somewhat prepared:
- Don’t panic. There are people available to help you—24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- If a death occurs in a home without a hospice worker present, the death must be officially pronounced. In order to facilitate this, call 911. Emergency medical services will come to your home. Occasionally, local police may provide support.
- Don’t feel rushed. You are allowed to have time to say goodbye to your loved one before they are taken away. A reputable compassionate and caring service will give you the time and space that you need. It is also worth noting that once you reach out to the providers, it will take time for their driver to arrive at your location. This time may feel both extremely long and not long enough.
Conversely, there is some information that will be helpful for the drivers to know before they arrive at your home. This information includes:
- Location of your loved one
- Are there stairs at your home—inside or outside?
- How accessible are they?
- Is there furniture that will need to be moved in order to maneuver the gurney in your house?
Beyond these things that must occur immediately in the hours following a death at the home, there are a number of other important items that must be taken care of. These things range from informing family and friends, making sure the house is secure, ensuring that pets and the mail are taken care of, and finding all of the necessary paperwork to close accounts and shut off utilities, if appropriate. Opal Cremation of Southern California has created a comprehensive checklist of what you need to do and who you need to inform following the passing of a loved one.