When a loved one dies

Due to the severity of illness, or background health problems, some people unfortunately do not survive their critical care stay.

We know that this can be an extremely upsetting time for patients, their families and close friends. It is also upsetting for staff that care for patients, and can have a greater impact than may be expected.

When someone is dying - we will do our best to explain what is happening to them, and you. We will discuss appropriate levels of treatment, and palliative medicine (symptom control) at the end of life. Our aim in this circumstance is for patients to be comfortable, dignified and their final wishes fulfilled wherever possible.

Every patient and family are different, and we hope that at this time of difficulty, we can ease any suffering by looking after your loved one in the best possible way and by trying to accommodate the needs and wishes of close family members.

After someone has died there are certain legal requirements that need to be completed:

  • The death will be confirmed legally by a registered medical practitioner.

  • The patient's body will be cleaned and dressed in linen. Jewellery etc. will be removed, documented, and returned to family members.

  • The patient's body will be transferred to the hospital mortuary

  • Many patient's circumstances of illness require us to speak with Her Majesty's Coroner, regarding the illness, treatments and death. These include traumatic, violent or unnatural deaths, and events where the cause of death is unclear.

    • In many cases the Coroner will begin a process of investigating the death independent of the hospital. You will be informed if this is the case.

    • Where the cause of death is clear and natural. We will be able to issue a medical cause of death certificate and a body release form. Appropriate arrangements can then be made for funeral/cremation etc.

After someone has died in intensive care. We will provide information with regards what to do, and when to do it, if you are a close relative.

The hospital bereavement office will provide ongoing contact with regards processes after death.