People vary in what they know, understand, and believe about death and dying. They also differ in what they want to know. If you are providing care at home you will need to be informed about the signs of imminent death and what you need to do after death has occurred. It will also be necessary for you to understand how to manage funeral arrangements and notifications.
Palliative Care South East has a Carer's booklet with practical information including tips on preparing for death.
There are some considerations specific to the home care situation.
- Depending on where the person dies you may have to position and prepare the body. Positioning of the body is likely to require help from a others and is best done before rigor mortis happens (2-7 hours after death). Funeral directors, health care providers, and others can help with this.
- In a home death either the doctor or the palliative care service can arrange for the doctor's certificate showing cause of death to be completed. After this you can contact a funeral director if that is planned.
- If there is no doctor available, then you will need to call the police. The police will refer the case to the coroner and the coroner will determine cause of death and complete the doctor's certificate. This is a legal requirement when a doctor is not available. Even in the case of an expected death. There does not have to be anything suspicious about the death for the Coroner to be involved.
- A funeral cannot be arranged without a doctor's certificate. It is not the same as the official death certificate issued by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages in your state and confirming that the death has been registered.
- Equipment such as bed, bedside commode and wheelchairs will need to be returned. Talk with your health care team about arranging this.
- If the person was registered with My Aged Care you will need to let them know when someone passes away so that their record can be closed. Any unspent contributions made by the person who has died will be returned to their estate, funds provided by the government are returned to them.
Page created 14 January 2022