When Death Occurs

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that was a long time coming, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed.  No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the loss of a loved one.  When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering.  The following is a simple guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.

When death occurs at home 

If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the deceased person's attending physician or the county medical examiner.  If the person has had a history of illness, many times the physician will release the deceased to the care of Madison Memorial Home, however, there are instances where medical examiner will take the deceased and determine whether further action is necessary.  The physician or medical examiner must release the deceased before the funeral home can do anything.   If the person was under hospice care, contact the hospice representative if they were not present and they will notify family members what the proper procedures are to follow.

When a death occurs at a hospital, nursing home, or hospice facility

The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred.  If our funeral home has been provided to the hospital or nursing home, we will be notified at the time of death.  If you are present at the hospital or nursing home when we arrive, we will ask a few basic questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time to come into the funeral home to make arrangements, however, if you are not present we will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.

Informing the Funeral Home

Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you place should be to the funeral home.  We are here to help you obtain a death certificate, transport the deceased, and in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service.   We will also help you notify the employer and insurance company of the deceased to assist with those arrangements.  We are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.

Meeting a Funeral Director

You should meet with us within 24 hours of a death to begin to make final arrangements for your loved one.  Deciding on these final arrangements may seem like a very daunting task, especially when you are in heightened emotional state, but we have years of experience dealing with these issues, and strive to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Making Arrangements

We will take the time to discuss your loved one's life to better understand how to custom tailor funeral services for them. We also gather the information and forms required for drafting an obituary,  filing the death certificate, and obtaining military honors.  This includes:

  • Full Name and Address
  • Marital Status
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Date and City of Birth
  • Highest Level of Education
  • Father’s Name, Mother’s Name (including maiden name)
  • Name of Spouse (if married or widowed)
  • Surviving Relatives
  • Occupation and Employer
  • Military Discharge Paperwork (Form DD-214)
  • Social Security Number

If no pre-planning has been done, necessary arrangements need to be made for the funeral service.  These include:

  • Scheduling the Location, Date and Time of the Visitation and Funeral Service
  • Selecting Burial or Cremation
  • Choosing Funeral Merchandise
  • Arranging a Cemetery Plot or Mausoleum Crypt
  • Preparing an Obituary
  • Scheduling Military Honors
  • Scheduling Transportation Arrangements

We will guide you through all these steps, using your wants, needs and desires as a foundation to create a memorable funeral for your loved one. From here the funeral services can be personalized.  Did your loved one have a favorite sports team?  What was their favorite type of music?  What activity was your loved one known best for?  Recalling fond memories assists with the grieving process and will help honor the life of your loved one.

Have a question? Ask the Director