What to do when someone dies

Centre Funeral Service’s guide to practical steps for family and friends


Taking it one step at a time

Few things compare to the heartbreak of a loved one approaching the end of life or passing away. In these trying moments, it's natural to feel overwhelmed, confused, and uncertain about what to do next.

Our step-by-step guide is designed to make things a little easier during this time, from preparing for their passing to the days afterwards.


Understanding the process

Where your loved one passes away will determine the immediate steps to follow.

Rest assured that any necessary paperwork to initiate proceedings will be organised and explained by our caring funeral directors. It's essential to understand that the official Death Certificate, often confused with the Medical Cause of Death Certificate, cannot be applied for until after the funeral has taken place and the required paperwork has been submitted to Births, Deaths, and Marriages.

When someone dies at home

If the death occurs unexpectedly at home or outside the care of a Palliative Team, dial 000 for the Ambulance and Police to respond promptly.

If your loved one was under Palliative Care and had discussed end-of-life preferences with you, contact them as soon as possible. Palliative Care professionals can confirm the passing, issue a Life Extinct or Medical Cause of Death Certificate, and arrange for the transfer of your loved one into our care. Whether day or night, we are here to assist whenever you need us.


When someone dies in a nursing home

Following your loved one's passing, the Nursing Home staff will contact their regular GP to determine the cause of death and issue the Medical Cause of Death Certificate.

You will be notified to say your goodbyes before reaching out to us to arrange the transfer into our care. Our team is available at any time to carry out the necessary transfer to our funeral home.

When someone dies in hospital
(including palliative care facilities)

After your loved one passes away in a hospital setting, their body will typically be moved to the Hospital Morgue.

We will facilitate the application for the Medical Cause of Death Certificate and arrange for the transfer of your loved one from the hospital to our care before the funeral service.

Our Palliative Care Facility is located within the Alice Springs Hospital, ensuring the same smooth transfer process.

If you prefer your loved one to be transferred directly to us, please discuss this with the Palliative Care staff to ensure we are notified, regardless of the time, to arrange the transfer. In such cases, a Life Extinct form may be required, as the Medical Cause of Death certificate may not be available immediately.

When someone dies unexpectedly

When someone you know passes away unexpectedly, it can feel like your world has suddenly turned upside down. You might be overwhelmed by shock or disbelief, believing that there's little anyone can do to ease your situation.

These circumstances can be especially bewildering for families when a sudden death occurs, whether due to unknown natural causes or a traumatic event like a car accident.

If such an event takes place at home, the immediate step is to call 000.

The operator will dispatch an ambulance to confirm the passing and involve the Coroner's Constable to initiate investigations and take custody of the deceased. Once the authorities have gathered the necessary information, the funeral director will be contacted. In the event of an autopsy, the family will be notified once it's completed, and you can then reach out to us to begin making funeral arrangements.

If there's a documented history of health issues or medical complications, sometimes a general practitioner (GP) may be willing to issue the Medical Cause of Death certificate. In such cases, the police might hand over custody of the deceased to the family without further investigation.

Rest assured that we maintain a close working relationship with the Coroner's Constable, and we are here to provide guidance and clarity during these difficult times. If you have any questions or uncertainties, we are here to help find the answers you need.

During these difficult times, we are here to provide guidance and clarity.

Let us help you find the answers you need.

Talk to us today