Patients & Visitors

Care of the Dying

Immediately after Death

On this page:

When the Patient has Died Chapel of Rest Dealing with Formalities Consented Post Mortem Spritual Support Book of Remembrance

When the patient has died

You may wish to stay with your loved one for a period of time after they have died.

The nurse will then perform the last offices. This is the physical care given to a deceased patient which demonstrates our respect for the dead as well as health and safety and legal requirements. Sometimes families may feel that they would like to be involved in this care. Please let the nursing staff know if your loved one had any particular wishes about their care after death, for example any religious or cultural beliefs.

The deceased will then be moved to the hospital mortuary.

Before leaving the hospital the staff may ask you if you would like to take any belongings or valuables with you.

Care at the End of Life leaflet

Bereavement Office: Information for family and friends

For any advice concerning these matters please contact:

Your own GP or local vicar may also be of great support and advice to you.

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Visiting the Deceased

Please contact The Bereavement Office if you would like to arrange to have a few quiet moments with your loved one in the hospital Chapel of Rest, which is situated next to the mortuary and is available on weekday afternoons. It is regretted that this service is not available at weekends.

Your visit to the chapel will be timed to coincide with your appointment at the Bereavement Office to collect the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death and any property or valuables not yet collected. One of the Bereavement Office staff will accompany you to the Chapel of Rest.

Alternatively, you can visit your loved one at the funeral director's Chapel of Rest, please enquire about this when you give instructions for the funeral arrangements.

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Dealing with Formalities

When someone dies at the Royal United Hospital the medical staff will be available to answer any immediate questions. The ward staff will refer you to the The Bereavement Office service.

This is a service for the newly bereaved. Advice and support is given to relatives and explanations on how to deal with the formalities required by law following a death.

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Consented Post Mortem Examinations

After the death of a patient a senior doctor responsible for their care may seek the permission of the next-of-kin to carry out a post mortem examination.

A post mortem, also known as an autopsy, is an important examination that aims to find out more about a person's illness.

A consented post mortem, unlike one ordered by the Coroner, cannot take place without agreement of the next-of-kin.

The process of gaining consent is very detailed and involves asking a number of questions to ensure that the patient's wishes, and those of their next-of-kin, are ascertained and respected.

A copy of the consent form will be offered along with an NHS booklet providing additional information about the examination.

Please be assured that the post mortem examination will be carried out sympathetically and will not normally delay funeral arrangements.

The result of this examination may be obtained from either the patient's Consultant or General Practitioner.

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Spiritual Support

Spiritual Care Centre, D1 corridor on the ground floor








The Chaplains at the Royal United Hospital provide pastoral support and spiritual care to patients, their carers and hospital staff. If you would like to speak to a member of the Chaplaincy Team, please ask the nursing staff to make contact for you, or you may telephone the hospital switchboard on 01225 428 331 and ask for the on-call chaplain to be contacted via their 'bleep' number.

A chaplain is always on site from 8.30am to 4.30pm and is available outside hours in an emergency.

If you would like to contact your own faith leader or minister, please mention this to the chaplain, who will be happy to arrange this for you.

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Book of Remembrance

A book of remembrance is kept in the Hospital Spiritual Care Centre.

If you would like an entry made in memory of your loved one, please complete the form available from the Spiritual Care Centre or complete the online form below:

Book of Remembrance entry
Internet form to be completed on line

There will be no charge for the entry, but you may like to make a donation to the RUH Remembrance Fund. Please make cheques payable to RUH Remembrance Fund.

Registered Charity Number 1058323

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