What should I do if a relative dies at home?

If a loved one dies at home and the death is expected you should contact the deceased’s GP or if the death occurs out with normal GP working hours then NHS 24 should be notified. You should also contact your funeral director who will be able to advise you on what to do next.

If the death was violent, accidental or unexpected – or if there are any unusual circumstances and the cause of death is unknown, the police should be called, it may be that they will arrange for the deceased to be transferred to a local mortuary in order that the Procurator Fiscal can be informed that an unexpected death has occurred. You should also contact your funeral director for professional guidance on the next steps.


What should I do if someone dies in hospital?

If you were not present at the time of death, the charge nurse or police will contact the nearest relative or next of kin to arrange a convenient time to attend the hospital. As the nearest relative or next of kin, you could be asked to identify the body, consider authorising a post-mortem examination (unless the situation requires a post-mortem by law), and provide documents required that enable release of any personal possessions that belonged to the deceased.

You may also need to tell the hospital staff of the person’s intention to donate body parts, or whether they wanted their body to be donated to medical science. Your funeral director can also be contacted at this stage and they will liaise with the hospital in order to transfer the deceased to their chapel of rest once the hospital confirms that this is possible. Finally, the hospital should discuss with you when the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is likely to be available.