overview: what to do

Here are the answers to questions about what to do in various circumstances.

If someone dies, what’s the first thing I should do?

When someone dies at home, the first thing to do is to call the family doctor. The family doctor will attend and confirm the cause of death, and will complete a death certificate (and a cremation certificate if required).

Once the doctor has left, you can then contact Wollongong City Funerals to arrange the transfer of your loved one to our Funeral Home. Don’t worry if it’s really late or early. We are available 24 hours a day, so contact us at whatever time suits you.

What if my family doctor cannot be contacted: what do I do?

If your family doctor isn’t available, contact the Radio Doctor Service on 4228 5522 if you live within the Illawarra area. The radio doctor can provide an interim certificate announcing life extinct. Transfer of the deceased to Wollongong City Funerals can still take place. However, the family doctor will still need to issue a certificate about the medical cause of death. If he/she is unwilling to do so then the Coroner will be contacted and an autopsy may be required to determine cause of death.

What if I can’t obtain a certificate from the family doctor or radio doctor?

The Police will need to be notified, and they will attend the home. Provided they are satisfied with the circumstances surrounding the death, they will authorise the nominated provider to take the deceased to the hospital. There, he or she will be in the care of the Coroner. The Coroner will determined the cause of death, and authorise the release of the deceased to Wollongong City Funerals.

What if someone dies in a hospital or nursing home?

After death has been confirmed at the hospital or nursing home, staff will then contact the next of kin.

If your loved one dies in a hospital, the medical administration department will complete most of the formalities required for the issuing of death & other certificates. You can then contact us and we will transfer the deceased from the hospital mortuary to our funeral home.

If your loved one dies in a nursing home, the staff will contact the family doctor to confirm the fact of death & issue the death certificate. The nursing home will then contact us to organise the transfer to our funeral home.

What if someone dies in an accident, or away from home?

If the death is sudden or the result of an accident and the cause of death is not confirmed, then the Police will need to be notified. (The Ambulance Service may do this if they have attended at the place of death.) It is important that the body not be moved or disturbed until Police have finished their initial investigations. The Police will notify the government-appointed undertaker to transfer the deceased to the mortuary. At this point the deceased person is under the care of the Coroner.

The coroner will then investigate and determine the cause of death. This may involve a post mortem. Once the deceased person has been transferred to the designated Mortuary you can contact us to make funeral arrangements. We will liaise with the Coroner to ascertain when the person can be released into our care and when a funeral can take place. You have the right to contact your funeral director of choice, and you are under no obligation to use the government-appointed undertaker who transferred the deceased person to the mortuary at the time of death.

If a death occurs while a person is travelling, or holidaying at a location away from home, you should contact us as soon as possible so that we can make the necessary arrangements to have your loved one returned home. Depending on where the death occurred this may be undertaken via air or by road by a specialist mortuary transfer company.

Read more about the Coroner here

Is it possible to plan a funeral in advance?

Yes. Doing so can offer emotional and financial security for both you and your family. By preplanning a funeral you will get the kind of service you want and your family will be unburdened from making decisions at a traumatic time. Pre planning doesn’t necessarily mean prepaying. If you are considering pre-planning your funeral please contact us for more information.

Read more about pre-paid funerals

What determines the cost of a funeral?

A funeral can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish. You will probably find it easier to manage costs if you pre-plan the funeral. By planning ahead, you avoid making decisions at a time when your emotions are raw. You can also take the opportunity to set aside finances that can be used to pay for part or all of the funeral service.

We can work with you to plan a personalised tribute that meets your financial needs.

Read more about funeral costing

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