In San Diego County, there are about 20,000 people who pass each year, which is about 55 people per day. Although a challenging experience, there are well-defined procedures for handling the situation. What to do and who to call depends on where the person is and the circumstances.
Generally, when someone is under hospice care, they are at home when they pass. The best thing to do in this case is to call hospice. The hospice will send a representative out to your home, and they will determine the time of passing, and when you are ready, they will contact us.
Sometimes the family wishes to have the loved one at home for a while, allowing relatives to come over and say their farewells. This time at home is generally just a few hours. Some families, however, wish to keep their relatives home for a couple of days. If this is the case, arrangements should be made with the funeral home to help slow the natural decay.
In either case, after we are called by hospice or sometime later by the family, we will come to take your loved one into our care. Generally, we are there within 1.5 hrs of being called.
When anyone unexpectedly passes (or expectedly) at home and is not under hospice care, the only thing to do is call the police – specifically, 911. They will send the paramedics and the police. They may also send a trauma intervention team. TIP is a non-profit volunteer-based program founded in 1985 and developed to support and assist those traumatically affected in emergency situations. They will evaluate the situation and determine a course of action. One of two things will happen;
- Your loved one will be taken to the Medical Examiner for further investigation (often including an autopsy) to determine the cause of passing.
- The police will issue a waiver number. At this point, you can call a funeral home to come to your home and take your loved one into their care.
Sometimes the family wishes to have the loved one at home for a while, allowing relatives to come over and say their farewells. This situation is much rarer in the case of an unexpected passing. However, the funeral home will be able to accommodate your request.
In either case, after we are called the family, we will come to take your loved one into our care. Generally, we are there within 1.5 hrs of being called.