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My loved one has died; what do I do first?

When Death Occurs

No matter if a death is sudden, or if it something that was a long time coming, the loss of a loved one makes us feel emotional and overwhelmed.  No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the loss of a loved one.  When you are in a heightened emotional state, even the most basic decisions can seem staggering.  The following is a rough guideline of what needs to be done within the first 24 hours after death.

When a death occurs suddenly or expected at a person’s residence under a Doctor’s Care

In these situations, immediately call 911. The police and emergency medical personnel will then determine the actual death. Today, more people with terminal illnesses are electing to die at home under the care of hospice or loved ones simply pass away unexpected. Your loved one cannot be released from their residence, unless their Attending Physician  or Hospice Nurse has been notified.  Once the Physician or Hospice Nurse has released your loved one, you will just need to let the Police Officer or Hospice Nurse know; that E. Vaughn Wray Funeral Establishment (757) 327-4400 is the funeral director of your choice. At that time, the Police Officer or Hospice Nurse will call us and release your loved one into our care.

When a death occurs suddenly and the Medical Examiner is notified

If the person was not under hospice care, the police will have to be notified immediately.  The police will be dispatched to the home and place the call to the medical examiner.  From there the medical examiner will take the body and determine whether further action is necessary.  The medical examiner must release the body before a funeral home can do anything. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (757) 683-8366. Always let them know that E. Vaughn Wray Funeral Establishment, is your Funeral Director of choice at (757) 327-4400

When a death occurs at a hospital/nursing home/hospice facility

The staff of a care facility such as a hospital or a nursing home will notify you and the necessary authorities immediately after a death has occurred. Let the charge nurse know that E. Vaughn Wray Funeral Establishment is your Funeral Director of choice at (757) 327-4400. If you are present at the facility when we arrive, we may ask a few questions about the deceased wishes and set up a time to come into the funeral home to make arrangements, however, if you are not present or in a state of being to communicate, a funeral director will contact you by telephone to discuss these arrangements.

Deaths outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia

If the death occurs outside of Virginia, you should call E. Vaughn Wray Funeral Establishment at (757) 327-4400 or 1-877-294-3666. We at that time, will coordinate with a local funeral director at the place of death and begin to have your loved one transported into our care.                                 

Informing your Funeral Director here at E. Vaughn Wray

Once everything has been cleared with the proper authorities, the next call you place should be to a licensed funeral director. Our Licensed Funeral Directors are here to help you obtain a death certificate, transport your loved one into our care, and in the event pre-planning was not done, select a casket/urn and arrange the funeral/memorial service.  The funeral director will also help you notify the employer and insurance company of the deceased to assist with those arrangements.  Funeral directors are here to help and advise you and will work very hard to relieve the stress and logistics involved in funeral planning.

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