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What to do Next When a Loved One Dies in Hospital

funeral preplanner Mississauga Oakville

I have had this question from a few people who have attended my seminars… “If my loved one dies in the hospital – what do I do next?”  The answer is – Your first call is to the Funeral Home.

The Funeral Home will ask you some initial questions and fill out what is called a First Call Sheet. The information needed will be:

  • The name of your loved one
  • Where your loved one died
  • Who is calling and their relationship to the deceased
  • Contact information for the family representatives
  • Is there is a valid will
  • Who the Estate Trustee is and their contact information
  • Verbal consent to bring your loved one from the place of death to the funeral home
  • Verbal consent if appropriate to embalm the deceased
  • Has the funeral been prearranged or prepaid? – If the funeral is prearranged and prepaid you will be likely be placed on hold while the file is retrieved.
  • If there is any necessary information missing from the file, you may be asked to bring in this information.

Next, the funeral director will set an appointment time with the family to confirm the details of the prepaid funeral arrangements. At this time you will be asked to bring in clothing for the deceased if there will be visitation.

During the appointment the funeral director will walk you through what has been set up and confirm that this is the type of funeral you wish to have to celebrate the life of your loved one. If there is a funeral service the first call the funeral director will make is to the appropriate clergy. Once the funeral time is established then you work backwards to set the visitation times.

You will also be asked to sign several documents such as:

  • Statement of Death
  • Privacy Policy
  • Waiver of Identification
  • Funeral Services Contract
  • Cremation Application is applicable

Wow there is a lot to consider!

As it comes up to the one year anniversary of my father’s death, I am reflecting on the long list of items that needed to be considered. I am so enormously grateful that Dad prearranged and prepaid his funeral several years ahead of time. However, I must share with you that there are 2 things that I do not feel I had the time and energy to appropriately honour my Dad’s life.

First is the selection of pictures to be displayed during the visiting and funeral. I was exhausted by the time it came to this part and totally overwhelmed looking through the 50+ albums my parents have. I also would have liked a power point loop of many pictures, yet I did not have the time or expertise to get this done.

Second, my Dad loved music and had been involved in various bands for 60 years. When he was still able to talk, I asked him about the music selections he wanted. I knew he liked the Big Band era so the genre of music was not the issue. He mentioned a particular song he wanted and I wrote down the title of the song. Dad mentioned that he had spoken with the organist at their church and the organist knew the song Dad wanted. As it turned out the organist had no recollection of this conversation with Dad nor did he know the song that Dad was referring to. As a result this song was not part of Dad’s Memorial Service.

Do I regret this? Yes.
Did I do the best I could with the time I had? Yes.
I am sharing this with you as a very small example of what can stay in your mind after the fact. I can’t imagine how people put together a funeral from scratch. It must be very exhausting, overwhelming, and enormously stressing.

If you would rather leave a solution for your family, then now is the time to consider preplanning and prepaying your eventual funeral arrangements. It is totally in your control to set up and outline the type of funeral service you would like to honor your life. If you would like a free list of 75+ items to consider ahead of time please connect with me and I shall send it to you.

Your family will thank you from the bottom of their hearts.

As always if you have questions or would like to know more, you can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Until next time


Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, radio host, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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