Practical arrangements

What will happen when my loved one dies?

If they die at the Hospice, we will make sure they are treated with dignity and respect at all times. If you are not able to be with your loved one because you are isolating, we will keep in touch with you to inform you how they are at every stage.

We will do our best to meet their wishes for their death when the time comes. We will talk to you about visitor arrangements at the time of death. If you cannot be there in person, it may be possible for us to arrange video or telephone contact between you.

What happens next?

The funeral director of your choice will come to your loved one’s room, or their house if they are at home, and safely remove their body. If they had a confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection, precautions to reduce the risk of spreading infection may include the use of a body bag, or a coffin, before they are moved from the house. If they had tested positive for the Coronavirus, unfortunately you will not be able to see the body as it will be securely closed.

If your loved one dies in the Hospice and you would like us to place something with them in the coffin, then please let us know and we will do so. If they died elsewhere, ask your funeral director to arrange this. If your loved one did not die with Coronavirus, as long as you are well, you will be able to see their body if you wish to.

Registering a death

When someone, dies, the doctor attending them in their last illness is required to give a cause of death. If they have died in the Hospice, one of our doctors will do this. If they died at home, or in a care home or nursing home, the most recent medical professional who saw them will do so. They record this on a certificate – officially known as a Medical Certificate Cause of Death (MCCD). This certificate is then scanned and emailed to the Registrar’s Office at Milton Keynes Council.

If your relative has tested positive and died of Covid-19, this will be added to the death certificate as cause of death. New legislation has been passed to allow Registrars to register deaths by phone to avoid the need for meetings in person.

You, or another relative should complete a pre-registration form which is available on the MK Council website This will give them everything they need to contact you to take the death registration over the phone. They will need details of the funeral director you are using so that documents can be sent to them directly. Your funeral director may, with your permission, complete the form for you or MK Council’s contact centre team can assist. Once they have everything required the Registrar will contact you to register the death. The death must be registered within five days. Once the death is registered, the Registrar will issue the Death Certificate.

What happens to their belongings?

We will arrange an appropriate time to reunite you with your loved one’s belongings if they died at the Hospice. If they were in a care home or residential home, the staff there will contact you about this.

If you would like to keep something to remember them by, speak to your funeral director who can arrange this. For example they can take a lock of hair, or finger/hand print. Anything they take will be kept in a sealed bag for a week before it can be given to you (to avoid any risk of infection).

How do I make funeral arrangements?

Think about which funeral director you would like to use, we can provide you with a list. Funeral arrangements should be made over the telephone or by email if possible given the current conditions. Funeral directors can email or post the forms needed to complete the arrangements. If you need to speak to them face to face then they ask that no more than 2 people are present. Due to the pandemic, restrictions on the services are changing all the time, your funeral director will be able to give you the latest guidelines.

At the time of writing, up to ten immediate family members can attend and they must abide by social distancing rules. Those attending will all need to sit separated and two metres apart from each other and will not be allowed to touch the coffin.

This will be the case whether or not the person died of Coronavirus. Many bereaved people may be in isolation and unable to attend funerals, even under the new rules. Funeral services may be delayed and much shorter than usual.

Please visit our bereavement support page for more information about how we can help.

In a typical year...
our cost, per minute
phone calls to patients at home
fabulous volunteers
patients cared for at home
home visits
patients at the hospice
of cups of tea
counselling sessions
We can only provide the care we do thanks to the incredible generosity of our community, through their continued volunteering, fundraising and donations throughout the year. Your donation will enable us to continue providing care and support to those facing a life-limiting diagnosis, and to support their loved ones.