What happens when a person dies at home?

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My husband has been ill for years, ventilator dependent and in a wheelchair. He is being cared for by nurses in our home. It looks like he may die soon and he wants to die at home. What are the technical details surrounding that? Once he passes, who do we call? What happens next? Is it ok to spend some time (like an hour or so) with the body before calls are made? I should have looked into this before but I didn't want to face it. I had hoped he would get well. Thanks for any help you can give.

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doreenblue, have you called in hospice? If you have a few days, it may be something good to do. They will help you work through the technicalities and handle things when your husband passes. When the time of death nears, you can call your hospice nurse so she can handle things. Hospice knows what to do and will help you greatly. The nurse will be able to pronounce when death happens and the hospice attending physician will sign the death certificate. Delays in the death certificate signing can be a problem for people who die at home without help from Hospice.

If you don't have hospice, there is no hurry after your husband passes. Call 911 when you are ready. The police and probably the paramedics will come by. What happens after that depends on your locality. If the paramedics have the ability to pronounce a person dead, there will be no trip to the ER. If not, you will need to have the DNR available so they aren't required to resuscitate while taking him to the ER.

I would call in a hospice right away. They will make it much easier for you. God be with you and your husband.
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When my father-in-law got sick 5 years ago and it started looking like he wouldn't make it, I went to a funeral home not far from my house and talked to them. Ended up, that both my brother & sister-in-law and I met with them and worked out all the details. My mother-in-law was in NO frame of mind to make any arrangements for her husband's impending death, so we did it. I had the checkbook as POA, along with this particular brother-in-law. We had everything in place when my husband's dad died at 1am a week later. The funeral home came and took his body away without any papers that needed to be signed etc. because we had that all taken care of before hand. As for my mom dying in 2011, same thing just different funeral home. They waited nearby until we were done saying goodby to mom, then took her body. Mom died at home. Father-in-law died in Adult Foster Care home.
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