How Do I Know...
HOW WILL I KNOW DEATH OCCURRED
Even though death is expected, you may not be prepared for the actual moment it occurs. At the time of death:
There will be no response
There will be no breathing
There will be no pulse
Eyes will be fixed in one direction
Eyelids may be opened or closed
There may be loss of control of the bladder or bowel
The procedures followed prior to and after death by nurses, physicians and funeral directors will be different from county to county, province to province and state to state. If your loved one is living with a terminal disease, you should ask your physician and funeral director what the procedures are in your area.
AFTER DEATH HAS OCCURRED
If you have health care professionals, such as Hospice, 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.
If a death has occurred in a hospital or other nursing facility, the nursing staff will notify the physician so that the death can be certified. The facility staff may or may not contact the funeral home. You may want to call the funeral home, too.
If a death occurs at home unexpectedly, you will need to call 911. The police and/or the coroner will call any necessary medical personnel and will direct you as to what to do next.
At the same time, it is necessary to call the funeral home to inform them that your loved one has died.
You may spend as much time as needed with the deceased person. 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 experiencing.