What To Do When Someone Dies

What do I do if someone dies at home?

If the person is under the care of a palliative team, they should develop a plan with you before the need arises. Follow their lead. They will let you know who to call, and in what order. The funeral director will generally be last on the list.

Otherwise, call 000 - you will need the ambulance and the police.

The funeral director cannot attend until specific processes have been completed.

  • Firstly, the ambulance officers will be able assess the person and confirm ‘life extinct’.
  • Secondly, the police then need to verify that there are no suspicious circumstances and the death appears to be due to natural causes.
  • Thirdly, the police will then make contact with the person's general practitioner to ascertain that they are confident about a cause of death and will be able to provide the ‘medical cause of death' certificate to the funeral director.

Once these three steps are completed, the police will give you permission to call a funeral director to arrange a transfer into their care. This can happen at any time of the day or night. We are here when you need us.

If the police are not able to reach the general practitioner, or the general practitioner is not certain about a cause of death, the police will arrange a transfer into their care (to their Forensic Science Department) for safe-keeping until further information is available.

Please know that you will be kept informed and supported through this process. Often, the additional information obtained over the coming hours/days is sufficient to enable permission to proceed with funeral arrangements.

What do I do if someone dies in a nursing home?

If the person dies in nursing home, the nursing staff will call and ask the general practitioner or locum to attend so that they can assess the person and confirm ‘life extinct’. They will also call family so that they may attend if they wish. Due to the busy nature of doctors, this step can sometimes take a few hours.

Once confirmation is obtained , and the family are ready, you can call a funeral director to effect a transfer into their care. Once again, this can happen at any time of the day or night. We are here when you need us.

What happens when someone dies in hospital?

If the person dies in a public or private hospital, the hospital will attend to the process of confirming ‘life extinct’ and organising the ‘medical cause of death certificates’. Each hospital has a different release process. You can ask the nursing staff, or your funeral director, about the process in their particular hospital. Most of the time, once the family is ready, the person is moved to the hospital’s mortuary while the internal processes are completed.

Generally, public hospitals will only release people into the care of a funeral director during set operating hours on weekdays.


Thank you so much for yesterday's lovely service to farewell Barb. I think that it went off really well and it was so nice to see her relatives there and old friends. The setting was beautiful - it could not have been better as Partridge House is directly across from where Barb spent all her school years at Woodlands Girls Grammar - now St Peter's. I am sure that Barb would heartily have approved everything we were able to do for her. Wendy, Marlene, Andrea and I met afterwards in the Holdfast Hotel for one glass of prosecco to toast happy memories of our fun times we had with Barb over many years. Again thanks to you (Fiona Talbot-Leigh - Celebrant), Peter, his mother and the other staff for a fitting farewell to a dear friend.

Priscilla. June 2021.

Peter and his amazing team at Frank J Siebert helped our family through the worst time in our lives. Peter was so respectful of us as we discussed mum's service, he guided rather than pushed us to the decisions that needed to be made, without ever getting frustrated as we tried to make everything perfect, from the casket to the music. He was very conscious of an affordable option even without us requesting it, and didn't try to 'up sell' us on anything. On the day of the service all of our wishes were carried out perfectly, I cannot fault them. It is easy to see they are a team that work well with each other, as the result of their efforts was seamless.

Nerissa. February 2018.

I would like you to know how very grateful we are for the very professional and caring assistance given to us by all your staff as we prepared for and entered into our last journey with and for our mum. Be very proud that you are maintaining a very fine family tradition on the highest order. We will not hesitate in recommending your company and staff very highly indeed. With very good wishes and sincere thanks.

Trish. May 2018.

Through such a deeply traumatic time in our lives, you have shown great compassion, gentleness, efficient practicality, appropriate guidance, great sensitivity and through it all, a delightful smile and giggle when needed.

Pip. June 2017.

150 years of caring and thoughtful profession Funeral Services to we South Australians in our need at a time that is nearly always a distressful, sad, emotional time in our lives. Your care, concern and of course knowledge of all that is entailed when a person dies has been of great comfort to so very many families thought the years of your ‘story'. Thank you, form so very many South Aussies.

Marie. Nov 2016.

Thank you very much for your exceptional services carried out in such a caring and sensitive manner for the funeral of our Mum in January of the year. We were very appreciated of your help and guidance. Thank you again.

Naomi. April 2018.