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What should I do when someone dies at home?

The next steps depend on whether the death was expected or unexpected/sudden.

If the death was expected, the deceased will have been attended to by his or her GP recently. The first/initial call should be made to this doctor who will be required to visit the home to confirm that death has occurred. The funeral director should be contacted at this stage.

If calling the GP out-of-hours, an alternative number may be given to contact a locum doctor. The locum doctor will visit the home to confirm death has occurred. This doctor cannot, however, certify the death so the GP should be contacted the following morning and advised that death has occurred. Once the GP has confirmed that he/she will be issuing a Death Notification Form the funeral director should be called.

If the death is sudden or unexpected, the first call should be made to the deceased’s GP who was attending during deceased person’s last illness or to the Gardai/Police. The GP, Gardai or Police may decide that the death needs to be reported to the local Coroner. The Coroner may decide that the cause of death must be established, in which case they will request that a funeral director under contract to the coroner’s service be called to remove the body to a local hospital or mortuary for post-mortem examination. It is important to note that in such cases the family is not obliged to use the services of the coroner’s funeral director and may choose an alternative Funeral Director to make the funeral arrangements.

If in any doubt about what to do when a death occurs at home contact your funeral director for advice.

In the event of any death at home the family may also wish to contact a priest or minister of their faith.

What should I do when someone dies in hospital, a hospice or a nursing home?

Normally a doctor will be in attendance or called to confirm death. The doctor and or staff will confirm to you whether or not a post-mortem examination will be required. In most instances, this will not be necessary and you can contact a funeral director to make funeral arrangements. If the death occurs in a nursing home then the local coroner may need to be informed - depending on the county in which the death has occurred.

Who is responsible for making funeral arrangements?

Funeral arrangements are usually made by the immediate family of the deceased person. The deceased may have left specific instructions about where to be buried or cremated and what form the funeral service should take – if there is a will it should be consulted. Most people respect the deceased’s wishes where possible.
If there is any dispute about who is entitled to make the arrangements or about the precise arrangements, the personal representatives are entitled to make the decisions. The personal representatives of the deceased are the executors of the will if there is a will or the people entitled to administer the estate if there is no will. The people entitled to administer the estate in the absence of a will are immediate family members or nearest surviving relatives.

How do I decide which funeral firm to choose?

No one ever wants to organise a funeral but when a death occurs it is reassuring to know that an Irish Association of Funeral Directors (IAFD) member firm will guide you through the process and help you make arrangements at what can be a very upsetting time.
IAFD members are dedicated to maintaining the highest standards to ensure that bereaved families receive the advice and support they need and deserve. The IAFD represents a broad spectrum of funeral directing businesses, which conduct around 80% of all funerals on the island of Ireland. Membership of IAFD is requires applicants to be vetted under strict criteria and all members are required to abide by a Code of Practice. Only IAFD members operate their businesses within the IAFD Quality Standard which, is aligned to the Eurpoean Standard for Funeral Services EN 15017 and , are independently audited to confirm their compliance with this standard. Click her to view IAFD Code of Practice  Irish Association Of Funeral Directors (iafd.ie)

We recommend that families choose an IAFD member in their area – a full list of our members (by county) is available here (insert link to list of full members).

How much does a funeral cost?

Funerals costs can vary greatly, depending on the choices made by the family. They can be broken into two categories - the fee charged by the funeral director for their services, and the disbursements (or third-party costs) paid by the funeral director on the family’s behalf - e.g. church offerings, grave purchase and opening fees, death notices, flowers and music. IAFD members must be able to provide their client families with a detailed estimate of all costs at the time of arranging the funeral.

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