When Someone Dies

We understand that you may be viewing this page at a very difficult time of your life. We hope it gives you the information that you require. It is never too soon to contact us, we are here to guide and help you every step of the way 24 hours per day.

Dying at Home

If your loved one dies at home expectedly (for sudden and unexpected deaths, please see below), the healthcare professional involved should be contacted in order to verify your loved one’s passing. Once this has been completed, we are able to bring your loved one into our care. Should you wish to spend time with your loved one, we can arrange to bring him/her into our care whenever you are ready for us to do so, no matter the time of day or night.

The GP should be informed as soon as possible and they will arrange to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and forward this to the Registrar in order for you to register the death (please see below information about the registration process).

Dying in Professional Care

When someone dies in a hospital, hospice, nursing or residential care home, the staff present will advise you. If death occurs in a nursing or residential home, it is usual for us to be asked to bring the person who has died into our care once the death has been verified by a medical professional and you are ready for us to do so.

If the person who has died is in hospital or a hospice, they will be taken to the mortuary after they have died. Once you have made contact with us, we will contact the hospital or hospice on your behalf to make the necessary arrangements for the paperwork to be completed.

The Doctor will arrange to issue the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and forward this to the Registrar in order for you to register the death (please see below information about the registration process). Once the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and in the case of cremation, the Medical Certificate (Cremation form 4) has been completed, we will arrange to bring your loved one into our care.

In some situations, the death may need to be referred to the Coroner.  If this is the case, we will liaise with the Coroner and Hospital or Hospice and so we would still encourage you to contact us as soon as possible so that we can start to support you and make provisional arrangements.

Sudden or Unexpected Death

When someone has died suddenly or unexpectedly or if they have died during, or shortly after, an operation, the Coroner will need to be involved. It is the Coroner’s responsibility to establish the cause of death. The coroner works in your interests and will keep you informed throughout. We will liaise with the coroner’s officer and if needed, help you to understand their involvement.

Even if the coroner is involved, we would still encourage you to contact us as soon as possible so that we can begin to support you. Particularly when someone has died suddenly, you may have given very little thought as to what sort of funeral would best reflect the life of the person who has died.

Even though we may not initially be able to put any of your wishes into action, by understanding what you want we can then move forward once the coroner has given us permission to do so.

Even in circumstances where someone has died suddenly and unexpectedly we believe that, with the right support, the funeral planning process can help friends and family to begin to come to terms with their loss.

When a Child or Baby Dies

When a child or baby dies it is a very difficult and emotional time for everyone. Ordinarily, there are many healthcare professionals involved who will offer emotional and practical guidance.

Depending on the child’s age and where they have died, there are a range of funeral options available. With the right support you can start to consider what is best for you, your child, your friends and family.

You may wish to spend some time with your child after they have died and we can support you to do so. You may want us to be with you, or you may wish to be alone but whatever decision you do make we’ll support you throughout.

There are also many memorial options available, such as footprints and handprints, fingerprints art or jewellery, personalised teddy bears, memory books and portraits. We have information available on all of these and can tell you more about these when the time is right.

Registering a Death

When someone passes away, their death needs to be registered at the Registry Office within the district where the death has occurred. This usually takes place within five working days. If the Coroner is involved, this procedure may be different. We will liaise with the Coroner’s office on your behalf and advise you of the next steps. Whilst we will explain how to register a death, unfortunately we are unable to do this for you. However, if you are alone or simply unsure about what to do, we can accompany you to the registrars office.

Once you have been notified by the GP or hospital bereavement services that the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death has been forwarded to the Registrar, please contact the relevant registry office to book an appointment.

Sunderland Registrar’s Office
City Hall
Plater Way

Tel: 0191 5205553

For more information and to book an appointment online, please click on the link below:

South Tyneside Registrar’s Office
10 Broughton Road
South Shields
NE33 2RN

Tel: 0191 4277000

For more information, please click on the link below:

Who else needs to be informed?

When someone passes away it is important to notify all the people who need to know. This will help reduce unwanted correspondence. Many registrars offer a  ‘tell us once’ facility which advises governmental and local council services (for example the DWP,  Passport Office, local council and the DVLA). You can ask the Registrar about this when you have your appointment or visit  www.gov.uk/tell-us-once.


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