What to do when someone dies at home in Saskatchewan

Mallory J Greene
Mallory J Greene
June 11th 2024 - 3 minute read
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Facing the loss of a loved one in can be overwhelming. This guide offers clear steps to take immediately after a death occurs at home in Saskatchewan.

Facing the loss of a loved one in Saskatchewan can be overwhelming. This guide offers clear steps to take immediately, such as ensuring safety, obtaining a pronouncement of death, and handling necessary arrangements. It also provides advice on managing practical matters and seeking emotional support.

Immediate Actions: Ensuring Safety and Pronouncement of Death

  1. Assess the Situation: If the death is unexpected or you suspect foul play, ensure the immediate area is safe and contact emergency services (911) immediately.
  2. Pronouncement of Death: A formal pronouncement of death is required. Contact one of the following:
  • The Deceased's Doctor: If the death was expected (e.g., terminal illness, hospice care).
  • Emergency Services (911): If the death was unexpected or the deceased wasn't under medical care. A medical professional (paramedic or coroner) will attend to pronounce the death.

Specifics for Palliative Care in Saskatchewan

If the deceased was receiving home-based palliative care:

  • Contact the Palliative Care Team: They will guide you through the steps and help arrange for a doctor or nurse to visit and pronounce the death.
  • Funeral Home Arrangements (Optional): If you've chosen a funeral home in advance, you can contact them. The palliative care team might assist with coordination.

Steps Following the Pronouncement of Death

1) Contact a Funeral Home

  • Pre-Arrangements: If the deceased had pre-planned their funeral, the designated funeral home will be listed.
  • Choosing a Funeral Home: If there are no pre-arrangements, choose a reputable funeral home. Ask for referrals, search online, or consult the Saskatchewan Funeral Service Association (https://www.saskfunerals.ca/).

2) Arranging Transportation

  • The funeral home will carefully and respectfully transport the deceased from your home to their facility.

3) Obtaining the Medical Certificate of Death (MCD)

  • The doctor, paramedic, or coroner will complete the MCD, which indicates the cause of death.
  • You'll need copies of the MCD for various administrative tasks. The funeral director can advise you on how many to obtain.

4) Registering the Death

  • The funeral home usually registers the death with eHealth Saskatchewan on your behalf. This must be done within 5 days of the date of death.
  • You'll receive a Registration of Death form, which is used for settling the deceased's affairs.

Addressing Practical Matters

  • Inform Others: Notify family, friends, employers, and any relevant organizations about the passing. The funeral home can assist with obituaries.
  • Organize Affairs: Gather important documents like the will, insurance policies, financial records, and contact details for any necessary accounts to cancel or transfer.
  • Support Systems: Reach out to your support network, grief counselors, or faith-based communities for emotional support.

Additional Considerations

  • Government Benefits: Explore eligibility for funeral assistance or survivor benefits. Contact the Government of Saskatchewan or Service Canada for information.
  • Estate Matters: Consult an estate lawyer if needed for assistance with wills, probate, and managing the deceased's assets.
  • Prioritize Self-Care: Give yourself time to grieve your loss. Don't hesitate to ask for emotional support or practical help from your support network.

Important Resources

Remember:

The loss of a loved one is deeply personal. While these practical steps must be taken, remember to grieve in your own way and seek support during this difficult time.

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