Confirmation or verification of death by registered nurses


When someone dies, a qualified healthcare professional must verify the death and ensure that it is true (known as “formal verification of death”). A doctor must also sign a “medical certificate of cause of death.”

Verifying a death 

Verifying a death necessitates performing certain checks to ensure that the individual has passed away. This is frequently done by a GP or senior nurse if the person dies at home. If you don’t have a healthcare professional with you, you’ll need to contact your doctor’s office. They will tell you what to do next.

If the person passes away late at night, on a weekend or holiday, or during office hours, contact your doctor and you’ll be given a phone number to call for an appointment. A Marie Curie Nurse or other healthcare professional will examine the patient’s care plan to see what should happen next if one is present at the time of death.

A death in a person’s home might be investigated by a Marie Curie nurse. They can also assist you in contacting the GP or district nurse if they are unable to do so.

Getting a medical certificate 

The death of a human being must be certified by a doctor. A physician who had treated the individual recently is often used to do this. If the person’s death was expected and they’re sure it was due to natural causes, they’ll complete a medical certificate of cause of death.

The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death will also include a notice to informant, which will be attached as an addendum to the medical certificate. It instructs you on how to register a death during the current coronavirus crisis. The procedure for registering a death has changed since the beginning of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic. We’ve got more information for you now.

A GP may either verify and certify the death at the same time. However, if a verifying individual is unable to certify it, you’ll need to obtain a medical certificate of cause of death from a doctor the next day. The funeral director will view the body if it’s with a mortician.

The doctor may have to notify the coroner of the death. If the person’s death was sudden or unanticipated or might have been linked to their job, this is generally the case. Don’t be concerned if your death is reported to the coroner; they may rule that the cause of death is obvious and no further study is required. The coroner could look into why and when you died, potentially performing a postmortem examination. If you have worries, contact the coroner’s office for additional information about what comes next.

The medical certificate of cause of death is a document that should be brought to the registrar’s office at the local council where the death occurred. You can get information about your local register office on the GOV.UK website.

Getting support 

Support from the nurse

If you have a Marie Curie Nurse or another care professional at home when the individual passes away, inform them if you want them to remain. If they must depart, they may try to arrange for someone else to be there with you. If you’d prefer that they go, say so explicitly.

If someone dies at a hospice or hospital 

Hospices and hospitals have their standards for confirming and certifying a death. They’ll provide you with a medical certificate of cause of death, as well as information on how to register the death.

A member of the staff will provide you with guidance on how to contact a funeral director, but they may not be able to suggest a particular firm. If you don’t want to hire a funeral director, you can also inquire about what to do next.

If someone dies abroad 

If someone passes away abroad, it will be necessary to follow a different procedure. Inquire further about GOV.UK or Citizens Advice.

If a post-mortem is needed

If the death is reported to the coroner, he or she may decide that a post-mortem is required. A pathologist is a doctor who specializes in investigating the causes of death.

When the cause of death has been identified, the coroner will submit a form to the registrar indicating the cause of death. If the body is to be cremated, they will also deliver a certificate for cremation.

Looking to enrol on a course?

If you’re a medical professional, or perhaps you work in a care environment, why not enrol on a end of life verification course, with Care Business Associate training today.