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Knowing what to do when someone dies

The death of someone close can bring great sadness, emotional turmoil and stress. Grieving families have a lot to deal with and organise, as well as many decisions to make. The most important thing is that our feelings and memories can be shared with family and friends in order to honour and cherish the memory of the deceased.

This sharing process creates a bond of compassion and respect that can help to lessen our suffering and help us work through the grieving process. Central to all this is the funeral service.

What to do

What to do first can often depend on where the person died and the manner of death. If the death occurs at a nursing home or in a hospital for example, contact Grinter’s Funeral Home to begin making arrangements.

If death occurs at home, the first thing you need to do is call a doctor, if you are unable to make contact with a doctor, contact us and a funeral director can begin guiding you through the process.

When the Coroner is involved

The Coroner is a legal officer appointed under the Coroners Act who has the duty to establish the cause of death in certain circumstances.

The involvement of the Coroner is a totally separate procedure from the funeral, so it is worth noting:

  • It is still the family’s responsibility to organise a funeral
  • It is the family’s right to choose their own funeral director – there is no obligation to use the funeral director contracted by Police and used to transfer the deceased from the place of death to a public mortuary

The Coroner may become involved when:

  • A doctor is unavailable or unable to establish the cause of death
  • There is a sudden unexpected death
  • Death occurs from other than natural causes
  • There is an accidental death
  • There has been no recent consultation with a medical practitioner

In these cases it is important that the deceased is not moved or disturbed in any way without the permission of the Coroner.


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