There is a lot to do and think about when a patient dies.
Guidance for healthcare professionals
Ensure other healthcare professionals involved in the patient’s care are informed as soon as possible
Information for families immediately after a death at home
- Funeral directors will not collect a body from a patient's home until death has been confirmed/verified.
- The process of registering a death has changed since the pandemic has ended, and now has to take place face to face in the local Register Office.
- It is a legal requirement to register the death within 5 days unless the case has been referred to the coroner.
- Information about bereavement may be helpful.
- Any trained healthcare professional can verify a death.
- There has been a focus on training nurses to verify death. Up to date guidance is available here
- If the patient has been seen by their usual doctor (face to face or remotely), in the preceding 28 days prior to death or after death, then this doctor can complete the MCCD (Medical Certificate of Cause of Death).
- If the patient was not seen in the 28 days prior to death (including video consultation), you are obliged to discuss the death with the coroner. You can complete the MCCD (indicating that you have discussed this case with the coroner) to the best of your knowledge, and the coroner may decide to instruct the registrar to accept the registration.
Medical Examiner process
This a new system to scrutinise the cause of death. It is already active in the acute hospital and most hospices.
It will become stautory for all community deaths in April 2024. Deatiled information about rationale and process is here
The only form now required from primary care is Cremation 4 (part 1). Both the MCCD and Cremation 4 can be completed by the same doctor, but they must have seen the patient in the 28 days before death, or after death.
The MCCD can now be sent electronically to the Registrar rather than be collected by the family.
Cremation 4 form can be emailed to the funeral director. The original documents should be retained.