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					Death of a service user

POLICY AND PROCEDURE FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF A SERVICE USER

POLICY NO RATIFYING COMMITTEE DATE RATIFIED NEXT REVIEW DATE

SD02 Risk Management Committee November 2003 November 2004

POLICY STATEMENT / KEY OBJECTIVES:
To ensure a dignified response to the death of a service user

ACCOUNTABLE DIRECTOR: Medical Director (Cameron Boyd) POLICY AUTHOR: Medical Director (Cameron Boyd)
KEY POLICY ISSUES • • • • Who to contact about the death of a service user How to certify the death When to contact the coroner or police What further arrangements to make

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Death of a service user

Contents
Page

1. Introduction
1.1 Rationale (Why) 1.2 Scope (Who, Where & When) 1.3 Principles (Beliefs)

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2. Policy (What) 3. Corporate Procedure (How)
3.1 Flow chart illustrating the corporate/local procedure following the death of a service user

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4. Development & Consultation Process 5. Reference documents 6. Bibliography 7. Glossary 8. Appendices

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1. Introduction
This document explains: • why the policy is necessary (rationale) • to whom it applies and where and when it should be applied (scope) • the underlying beliefs upon which the policy is based (principles) • the standards to be achieved (policy) • how the policy standards will be met through working practices (procedure). 1.1 Rationale (Why) 1.1.1 Within any NHS setting it is inevitable that there will be instances when deaths of service users occur. The purpose of this policy and procedure is to ensure that Mersey Care NHS trust handles these situations in an appropriate 1.1.1 manner. It establishes a framework to ensure: • relatives and carers are informed as soon as possible • death certificates are appropriately issued • any suspicious deaths are investigated • any necessary arrangements are made with the coroner and appropriate funeral directors 1.2 Scope (Who, Where & When) 1.2.1 This policy and procedure applies to the deaths of all service users in Mersey Care NHS Trust premises. It also applies to deaths of service users in the community that are discovered by staff employed by Mersey Care NHS Trust. 1.3 Principles (Beliefs) 1.3.1 This policy and procedure is based on the belief that all deaths should be managed in a dignified manner.

2. Policy (What)
2.1 2.2 Service user deaths fall into three categories, expected death, sudden unexpected death and suspicious death In the case of all deaths, the service user’s nearest relative and person with whom they had the closest relationship should be informed as soon as possible following verification of death. For expected deaths, the appropriate doctor should certify the death. For sudden unexpected deaths, the coroner should be contacted (police outof-hours) who may instruct the doctor to certify death or may attend the scene. For all suspicious deaths, the coroner and police should be contacted.

2.3 2.4

2.5

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2.6

For suspicious deaths and sudden unexpected deaths where the coroner and/or police need to attend the scene, the body should not be moved once death has been verified and the area should be vacated and left undisturbed. Following certification of death and approval by the police and/or coroner the Last Offices should be carried out. Following the Last Offices arrangements should be made with the Funeral Director for removal of the body. Following a death involving a category 3 pathogen infection control procedures should be followed and the funeral directors informed. The appropriate Trust staff should be informed of the death including Clinical Director, Service Manager, Executive Director for the Directorate and Health Records Department. Support should be provided for relatives, staff and other service users affected by the death. All suspicious deaths and sudden unexpected deaths should be reported as adverse incidents.

2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10

2.11 2.12

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Death of a service user

3. Corporate Procedure (How)
This is a corporate procedure for Mersey Care NHS Trust. It is intended to provide a framework for services to meet the policy statements. More detailed local procedures may be developed to take account of local working contexts but must, however, continue to meet the key standards set out in the policy (section 2). 3.1 Flow chart illustrating the corporate procedure following the death of a service user
Member of staff discovering death 1. Inform member of staff responsible for team Member of staff responsible for team 1. Inform Service Manager (Manager on-call) 2. Agree category of death

Expected death

Sudden unexpected death

Suspicious death

Service Manager 1. Inform Director Responsible for Service (or Director on-call) and carers and relatives 2. Ensure arrangements made for appropriate doctor to certify death 3. Ensure appropriate arrangements made for Last Offices (in line with service user’s preferences and following discussion with carers and relatives) 4. Ensure arrangements made with funeral directors for removal of the body (following discussion with relatives and carers)

Service Manager 1. Inform Director Responsible for Service (or Director on-call), carers and relatives and coroner 2. Report as adverse incident 3. Ensure site undisturbed and await further advice from coroner

Service Manager 1. Inform Director Responsible for Service (or Director on-call), carers and relatives, police and coroner 2. Report as adverse incident 3. Ensure site undisturbed and await further advice from police and coroner

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4. Development and Consultation process
4.1 This policy and procedure has been developed by the author as a matter of urgency drawing on documents from the former Trust areas of Mersey Care NHS Trust.. It is essential that the first review of this policy involves much wider consultation and also seeks the views of service users and carers.

5. Reference Documents
No reference documents

6. Bibliography
No further documents

7. Glossary
No glossary terms

8. Appendices
No appendices

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Description: The Policy