What Happens When Someone Dies In Hospital

Category: What To Do When Someone Dies


If one of your loved ones has passed away in hospital, there are a number of steps which you’ll need to follow.

At such a difficult time, everything can seem overwhelming. In order to relieve some of the pressure and avoid confusion, we’ve provided some crucial information on what you can expect from the hospital, and what needs to be done.


Key things to be aware of

  • In the case of somebody passing away in hospital, when it happens, a member of the medical staff will get in touch with the next of kin to inform them of the news.
  • There may be a request from the doctor or nurse, for a post-mortem to be carried out in order to confirm the cause of death if it is not 100% clear so be ready to make the decision if the question is asked.
  • Undoubtedly, the hospital staff will be extremely supportive if a loved one passes while in their care and a specialist bereavement counsellor will be on hand to help you through the immediate aftermath.
  • It is important to take your time and say goodbye to your loved one before they’re taken away. So make sure to ask the staff for a private moment if you and your close ones need it before the body is moved.

So, what happens next?

Once you have had enough time, the body will be moved to the hospital mortuary until you have made arrangements for the funeral directors to move your loved one to the chapel of rest until the funeral. It is also important to tell the doctor if you plan to have a cremation at this point.

It is likely that the departed will have had possessions with them in the hospital, in which case, they will need to be collected by the Executor of the Will, which is the person who carries out the wishes of the deceased from their Will.

Once collected, a receipt will be provided for the possessions from the hospital.

After the body has been moved, a doctor at the hospital will issue you with a medical certificate which confirms the cause of death. It is important to keep this document as you will need to register the death with the government within five days of the passing.

We have a dedicated guide on how to register a death as there are a number of permutations which you may not have considered. Simply click here (link to respective content once live) to read more and to get a direct link to an online portal which allows you to go through the process.

Hopefully the process is smooth and as stress-free as possible, but sometimes there can be hiccups. As you’ll understand, hospitals are extremely busy and hustling places so make sure to take your time and ask for support if you need it.