Depending upon the situation will determine what needs to be done and whom to call. We always recommend calling us first to help guide you through the process. We are available 24/7 at (631) 454-9600 to help.

Death At Home Not Under Hospice Care

If someone dies at home and is not on hospice care, a family will need to call 911. This call will engage the paramedics and police who will arrive at the home and determine the next steps. Once death is pronounced by the paramedics, they will want to know, if available, which doctor was treating the decedent. They report this to the Medical Examiner ( ME) who then attempts to contact the doctor to learn if the doctor is willing to sign the death certificate. A doctor will agree to sign if they are of the belief the decedent died of natural causes and was being treated for issues that are likely to have caused the death.

If the doctor cannot be located, as many times this happens in the wee hours of the morning and the medical examiner cannot find a covering physician willing to sign, the medical examiner will instruct their team to transfer to remains to their facility until things can be sorted out. This timeframe can be very stressful for a family as it might be hours before the decision to do this is made by the medical examiner.

If after a certain timeframe the ME and the family have been unsuccessful in getting a doctor to sign, the ME will suggest that they do an examination and possibly an autopsy to determine or confirm the suspected cause of death. The autopsy request can be declined by you and if acceptable to theme, they will just do an external exam and then sign the death certificate which enables us to transfer the remains to our chapel.

As you can see from the above, this can cause undue hardship and stress for the family. That is why we strongly recommend you contacting us if you believe a death is imminent and at the very least, reach out to the physician your loved one is being treated by to know where they can be found in the middle of the night if the need arises.

Under Hospice Care

If death occurs at home with the deceased having been under hospice care, the family or aide should call hospice so that they can pronounce by dispatching a nurse to the home. Once the nurse arrives and makes the pronouncement, they will typically ask the family for the phone number of the funeral home so that they can call us to alert us of the pronouncement. This enables us to then dispatch our directors and in most instances, we will arrive within one hour of the pronouncement. In some instances in the five boroughs, the hospice may simply pronounce over the phone which then enables us to dispatch our team once called by the family.

If death occurs at home and the deceased is under hospice care, you should contact the hospice who will dispatch a nurse to the home to pronounce death. At this point, the hospice nurse will ask you which funeral home you will be using and they will call us.
If death occurs at home and the deceased is not under hospice care, you will need to call 911 who will dispatch emergency services to pronounce the death. The police will also arrive and will fill out the necessary paperwork in order to release the deceased to the funeral director. While waiting for the police to arrive, you should contact the funeral director to alert them so they can prepare to come once the deceased has been released by the police.
Elderly man in a hospital bed with a young relative