When Death is Expected

Check to see if any pre-planning has been done.  If so then initiate arrangements to fulfill the dying person’s requests.

When death is expected do not call 911, the ambulance, police or fire department.

Your physician can fill out a Notification of Expected Death form that verifies:

  • The death is a natural expected on:
  • The death is expected within the next days or few weeks

If you have this form completed there is no need to call your physician when death occurs.

Make a list of who to call when death occurs.  This may include:

  • Physician
  • Home Care Nurse or other medical attendant
  • Family member or friend (with prepared ‘phone tree’)
  • Spiritual advisor, if desired
  • Nelson End of Life Society
  • Funeral Provider

When death is expected. Your plan will include:

  • Who will pronounce the death;
  • How your physician can be reached;
  • What alternative arrangements have been made should your physician be unavailable and cannot be reached; and
  • Who should be called to transport the deceased.

Pronouncement of Death

While there is no legal requirement that death be pronounced, it is widely recognized that it is sound clinical and ethical practice for nurses and physicians to be available to pronounce death.

Health care professionals who may pronounce death include physicians, registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses and licensed practical nurses.

Families may decline to have a physician or nurse come to the home to pronounce death.

There is no legal requirement regarding the timing for the removal of the body from home.  There is, however, legal restrictions about who can authorize the transportation of the body.  Verbal or written authorization is needed from the executor or the next-of-kin.

Should you decide to make arrangements with the funeral home for the transportation of the body they will take care of the paperwork needed to transport the body.  You also have the option of moving the body yourself after you have obtained a private transfer permit.