Preparing For An Expected Death at Home

The following information is helpful for physicians and families on the procedures to follow to facilitate the expected death of a patient in the community. Specific direction should be given to the family regarding the notification which must take place after the death occurs, and regarding the arrangements to be made for transportation of the deceased. If these directions are followed, the confusion that can occur if Police or Ambulances are called can be avoided.

FAMILIES AND PHYSICIANS EXPECTING A DEATH AT HOME

The family must advise the physician of one of Wojcik’s Funeral Chapels that they will be using after the death occurs.

The physician must write a letter to Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium to advise them of the pending death and who will be responsible for the Registration of Death. A suggested draft form of such a letter is included. Clearly state any specific precautions about which the funeral home should be aware, e.g. pacemaker, observe body fluid precautions. This letter authorizes Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium to transfer the deceased and complete Part I of Registration of Death.

The letter must be sent to Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium with copies to the family and to the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner.

When a death occurs at the family home, DO NOT phone 911 (ambulance or police). Call Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium to transfer the deceased and they will also advise the attending physician who will be responsible for completing the Registration of Death.

If the family calls 911, resuscitation efforts can be avoided if they produce the letter of expected death for the ambulance personnel. At this point the ambulance will leave and the family should notify Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium and the physician. Families should take as much time as they feel they need prior to calling Wojcik’s as will normally arrive within one hour from a family calling us.

Then Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium and/or the physician must notify the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office that the death has occurred.

Questions from Physicians may be directed to:
Office of The Chief Medical Examiner
210 – 1 Wesley Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4C6
Phone: (204) 945 – 2088
Fax: (204) 945 – 2442