Death at Hospital

Useful information for when a death occurs in a hospital

Here is a brief guide to what will need to happen should your family member pass away at a hospital.

You should receive ongoing support from the ward staff and palliative care team through the end of life stages. The bereavement liaison officer from Patient Affairs or the Bereavement Office will then arrange the documentation required (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death) so that the death can be registered. If a cremation funeral is planned, they will also issue the Cremation Form signed by the doctor, for which a charge of £82 is payable, however your chosen funeral director will organise and pay for this on your behalf.

Most hospitals will issue a useful printed guide to what needs to happen following a hospital death.

The hospital can confirm if the person who has died has opted out of being an organ donor on the NHS Donor Register. Where usable organs are to be donated then the hospital’s coordinator of organ transplants will liaise with the family. Tissue donation happens within 24 hours of the death occurring.

In some cases, where the exact cause of death is unclear or the death occurred very soon after the person was admitted, the death may be referred to HM Coroner, in which case you can read more about the coroner process here.

Hospitals have their own in-house mortuary facilities where the person who has died will be cared for until such time as they are released for a funeral director to collect them. This may take quite a few days or even a week or more, to allow for all necessary documentation to be completed.

Any personal effects are kept by the hospital until released to the next of kin or executor. If you wish to view or spend time with your loved one, the hospital will generally not be the most inviting environment to do so – your chosen funeral director would usually make these arrangements once they have the person in their care.

If you have appointed White Rose Modern Funerals as your funeral director, please inform the hospital bereavement team (or patient affairs) so that we can arrange to bring the person who has died into our care.

Registering the death

  • During Covid restrictions the registration process was handled by telephone, however after 24th March 2022 the Coronavirus Act 2020 ends and in-person registrations will return once more.
  • The Medical Cause of Death Certificate (MCCD) will be issued by the hospital doctor and sent direct from the hospital bereavement team to the Registry office – usually they will inform you once they have done this.
  • The specific register office you will need to contact is can be identified here based on the location of the hospital where the death occurred – if you visit the Register Office website to see how to book a telephone appointment – some require you to complete an online form first.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the White Rose team on 020 3281 1045. If you wish for us to be on standby when faced with an end of life situation, it would be helpful if you could please complete our planning ahead form – please note there is no obligation to use us but this gives us some useful details so that we can be better prepared.

White Rose Modern Funerals team

We’re here to help

If you have any questions regarding arranging a funeral or planning ahead, please get in touch. Call us on 020 3281 1045 or send us a message.

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