SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

This should be followed in the event of the death of anyone residing in a residential care home, whether permanently or for a short stay.

1. Principles

If the person’s death is sudden, unexpected or there are suspicious circumstances, the requirements of the police or coroner must take priority.

It is essential that the utmost sensitivity is applied particularly when contacting relatives and friends.

Cultural and religious norms and the wishes of the customer and their relatives must be adhered to. This should be recorded in the Living Well documentation or otherwise in their notes.

2. Procedural Steps

Step Action By Whom
1. When death is suspected to have taken place, the person’s GP, district nurse or emergency care practitioner should be contacted to certify death. No one should enter the room, touch the body or anything in the immediate surroundings until advised otherwise. Registered Manager / senior staff on duty
2. If death has been sudden, or if there are any suspicious circumstances in connection with the death, the police should be contacted. In cases of suspicious or sudden death, the Registered Manager should be informed if they are not on duty and the managing Assistant Head of Service should be notified. Registered Manager / senior staff on duty
3. The customer’s nearest relative or designated person should be notified of the death as soon as it has been certified. If there is a delay in certifying death, the relative or designated person should be informed that the person is believed to have died, but that confirmation is being awaited.

The relatives should be informed of their legal duty to register the death within 5 days. If there is no relative or they are unable to register the death, the Registered Manager or deputy should register it.

Senior staff on duty to direct
4. Attention should be paid to the appearance of the body and it should be washed, hair combed, dentures replaced and dressed in clean nightwear or clothes unless the GP or police advise otherwise or unless the person or their family have expressed a wish for another person to carry out these tasks. Senior staff on duty to direct
5. If the customer or their relatives are known to have expressed any specific wishes in the event of death, the senior staff member on duty will confirm this and carry out these instructions. These should be contained in the Living Well documentation or otherwise in the person’s notes. Senior staff on duty to direct
6. If relatives cannot be contacted or are unable or unwilling to do so, the senior staff member should make the necessary arrangements with a local Undertaker on a temporary basis until otherwise directed by the family. Registered Manager / senior staff on duty
7. The customer register will be amended accordingly, noting time, date and cause of death where known and confirmed by the person certifying death. The customer’s GP and the Long Term Support Team should be informed and a Regulation 16 notification should be sent to Care Quality Commission. Registered Manager/ senior staff on duty
8. The senior staff member on duty will list the person’s effects including those held in safe keeping, investigate and attempt to resolve any discrepancies. Registered Manager / senior staff on duty
9. The senior staff member on duty will contact relatives to agree arrangements for the disposal of personal effects.

If relatives wish to leave any effects, e.g. furniture, ensure the personal effects form is endorsed to reflect this.

Senior staff member on duty
10. Medication must be disposed of according to the medication procedure. All medication and documentation must be retained for 7 days. Registered Manager / senior staff on duty
11. Any aids borrowed from the Occupational Therapist Department must be returned to the issuing officer. Registered Manager / senior staff on duty
12. Diary records must be completed in detail to confirm all of the above steps have been carried out and records held according to the Corporate Record Retention Schedule. Staff on duty