First steps when someone dies
What to do? It depends on the circumstances of the death, whether it was expected or unexpected, where the death occurred, and your family’s needs and wishes. See our list below for help. Scroll down or click on:
- We support you at any time day or night. Our specially trained answering service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (425) 316-8290(425) 316-8290 and can address many of your questions. Should your needs be more specific, a staff member of A Sacred Moment is always available after business hours, via our answering service.
- We do not need payment before your loved one is brought into our care. Do not worry about payment up front in order for us to receive your loved one. We do need payment before disposition occurs--the cremation or burial. Financial matters are typically handled during our arrangement meeting, in person or on the phone.
- We support your innate right to take as much time as you need when someone dies. Our funeral service supports your choice to take the time you need whether that be an hour, a day or a full three-day home funeral. If this is not a choice for you, we can receive the body right away into our care. You can have a visitation later if you choose.
Expected death at a facility (hospital, nursing home) - Let the nurse or staff know that you are choosing A Sacred Moment as your funeral service provider, and give them the phone number (425) 316-8290(425) 316-8290. A staff person needs to make the call. As family, you may want to call us as well, to answer any questions you might have, set up an arrangement meeting or provide us additional information about your preferences. The facility will have a say in how much time you have with the body. If you wish to transport your loved one home from a facility instead of placing the body in our care immediately, we can help make that happen. (See Home Funerals.)
Expected death at home (or adult family home) with hospice - There is no need to call 911 or the police/coroner if your loved one has been under hospice care. The hospice nurse will notify the medical examiner/coroner and also alert us as the funeral service of your choice. Because hospice helps families have their dying loved ones at home, this situation best supports home funerals, as keeping the body for a time after death simply becomes an extension of what is already in place. (This may not be true at an adult family home.)
We can also transport the deceased right away. It is entirely up to you. Please call us at (425) 316-8290(425) 316-8290 when you are ready for us to receive the body into our care for transport to our care facility.
Expected death at home (or adult family home) without hospice - Please call 911 and ask for the non-emergency line to report the death. (Calling 911 as an emergency may initiate a more comprehensive response than is necessary with an expected death.) A police officer will come to the house to help you, and they will be notifying the medical examiner/coroner in your county. Even without hospice, a family has the legal right to take up to 24 hours before calling a funeral service. If you want more time, or are interested in a Home Funeral, we suggest you call us for support before calling 911.
If your loved one is at an adult family home, and taking more time is not possible, please call us to transport your loved one to our care facility right away.
Unexpected death at a facility (hospital, nursing home) - Let the nurse or staff know that you are choosing A Sacred Moment as your funeral services provider, and give them the phone number--(425) 316-8290(425) 316-8290. A staff person needs to make the call. As family, you may want to call us as well, to answer any questions you might have, set up an arrangement meeting or provide us additional information about your preferences. The facility will have a say in how much time a family has to say goodbye, and may retain the body if the medical examiner needs to be involved. It can be more challenging for a loved one to be brought home for a home funeral under these circumstances, especially if there will be an autopsy. We recommend home funerals on a case-by-case basis.
Unexpected death at home, adult family home, or other location - Call 911 and ask for the non-emergency line. A police officer will come to the location and will notify the medical examiner/coroner in your county. Depending on the circumstances, your loved one's body may be taken to the medical examiner/coroner's facility so the cause of death can be determined. A family member should inform the medical examiner/coroner that A Sacred Moment is your chosen funeral service. They will notify A Sacred Moment at (425) 316-8290(425) 316-8290 when we are able to receive your loved one’s body into our care.
We will transport the body either from the medical examiner/coroner's office or the home to our care facility at the appropriate time. It can be more challenging for a loved one to either remain at home or be brought to a home under these circumstances, especially if there has been an autopsy. We recommend home funerals on a case-by-case basis.
What is the next step to take after the deceased is in A Sacred Moment's care?
Arrangement meeting: Our staff will be personally calling the family within 24 hours of notification, or the first business day after the weekend or a holiday. You can Request an Appointment via our website; a staff member will call the next business morning to confirm your appointment.
Or you may call us at your convenience, to set up a time to complete the necessary forms/paperwork, go over your or the deceased's wishes regarding cremation or burial, and make payment for services. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, check or cash. Though an in-person meeting can be very supportive to the family, the arrangements/paperwork can also be accomplished via phone/email or our Online Cremation Form.
How do I arrange a cremation or burial?
Go to Arrange a Cremation, or Arrange a Burial. You also may be interested in a more natural Green Burial. Rest assured, we will help you in any way we can when a death occurs, and with your choice of disposition. We can help with memorial, funeral or life celebration services to honor your loved one, as you and your family desire.