Help for bereaved families

The days immediately following your bereavement can be a confusing and bewildering time. We hope this leaflet will help and assist your during this time.

Miss me, but let me go

When I come to the end of the road,

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom filled room

Why cry for a soul set free.

Miss me a little – but not too long

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared.

Miss me – but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take,

And each must go alone.

It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely, and sick of heart,

Go to the friends we know,

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me – but let me go.

Anon

Our sympathy

The Staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital wish to extend to you our sympathy and condolences in your bereavement.

If you need help in any way please do not hesitate to ask.  If you wish, the Nurse-in-Charge can arrange for you to talk to the doctors, nurses, the chaplain and any other members of staff involved in the care of your loved one.

The days immediately following your bereavement can be a confusing and bewildering time.  Not only are there all the feelings and emotions of grief to cope with but there are a number of practical matters that need your attention.  We hope this leaflet will help and assist your during this time.

Department of Work and Pensions leaflet DWP28 “What to do after a Death” gives comprehensive advice and details about the formalities involved.  If you have not received on already, the leaflet can be obtained from your local Job Centre Plus office or contact Bereavement Services on 0191 4452647.

Our sympathy

The Staff of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital wish to extend to you our sympathy and condolences in your bereavement.

If you need help in any way please do not hesitate to ask.  If you wish, the Nurse-in-Charge can arrange for you to talk to the doctors, nurses, the chaplain and any other members of staff involved in the care of your loved one.

The days immediately following your bereavement can be a confusing and bewildering time.  Not only are there all the feelings and emotions of grief to cope with but there are a number of practical matters that need your attention.  We hope this leaflet will help and assist your during this time.

Department of Work and Pensions leaflet DWP28 “What to do after a Death” gives comprehensive advice and details about the formalities involved.  If you have not received on already, the leaflet can be obtained from your local Job Centre Plus office or contact Bereavement Services on 0191 4452647.

Registering a death

On being informed of a death

You will require a medical certificate which shows the cause of death.  The certificate will be completed by the hospital doctor and is obtained from the Bereavement Office, Swan Centre (Purple Zone). You will also need to collect and sign for any personal belongings.

Please ensure you book an appointment before attending on 0191 445 2647. The office is open from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday except Bank Holidays.

What happens next?

On being informed of the death, the death must be registered within five days at the Gateshead Office of the Registrar for Births, Marriages and Deaths.  An appointment must be made by telephoning 0191 433 3028 and asking for the Registrar for deaths.

The address of the Registrar is:

Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Civic Centre

Regent Street

Gateshead

NE8 1HH

The Registrars office is open Monday 9.30am – 5.30pm and on Tuesdays to Fridays from 9.30am – 4.00pm.  The office is not open at weekends or bank holidays.

Who can register a death?

  • A relative of the deceased
  • Someone who was present at the death
  • A representative of the Hospital
  • The person instructing the funeral director

INFORMATION NEEDED FOR THE REGISTRAR

To register the death you will need to take:

The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, issued by the hospital doctor or GP in its envelope unopened.

You will also need the following information about the deceased:

  • Full names and address (maiden name if appropriate)
  • The date and place of death (ward and hospital)
  • Date and place of birth
  • Occupation and occupation of spouse, if married
  • State pension and benefits received – don’t worry if you are not sure
  • National insurance number for the deceased and any surviving widow or widower
  • The name and date of birth of any surviving widow or widower

Certificates

The Registrar will give you a green certificate that you should hand to your Funeral Directors as soon as possible.  This enables them to proceed with the arrangements.  The Medical Death Certificate remains with the Registrar.  You will also be given a white certificate which you may need to send to your local Social Security Office.  If you need copies for insurance, bank account or other purposes, you may obtain them at a fee from the Registrar.

Unexplained or sudden deaths

If someone dies unexpectedly or suddenly and is brought into the Accident Department then the Coroner’s Officer will request certain information from the relatives.  They may also ask a member of the immediate family to formally identify the deceased.

The role of the coroner

A coroner’s post mortem is carried out in circumstances that include deaths that occur during/after an operation or other medical procedure, or death within 24 hours of admission to hospital.  The coroner is an independent official with responsibility under law for the medical legal investigation of certain deaths.  He or she is legally obliged to enquire into the circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent or unnatural deaths.  In certain circumstances, this enquiry may necessitate a post mortem examination.  If the coroner directs that a post mortem take place, consent is not required from a parent or next of kin.

In the situation where the Coroner has ordered a post mortem, the Medical Certificate will be sent to the Office of the Registrar for Births, Marriages and Deaths.  You will still be required to register the death with the Registrar unless an inquest is ordered.  The Coroner’s Officer will keep you informed of this process.

If you are uncertain the Funeral Director will know what to do, or you can telephone the Coroner’s Office on (0191) 4838192 (Office hours: 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday).

Hospital post mortems

In some situations the hospital medical staff may ask permission to carry out a post mortem, but they cannot proceed without your consent.  They will explain the reasons for this request.  It is possible to give consent for a partial post mortem.  You may however wish to withhold consent for a post mortem, or limit the procedure.

Organising the funeral

It is recommended that you contact a Funeral Director as soon as possible after the death of your loved one.  This can be done before the death certificate has been issued.  The undertaker will visit you at home and will help and advise you on the necessary arrangements for the funeral.  The telephone directory contains further information on local Funeral Directors, should you need it.

Sometimes a person has expressed a wish or desire in respect of their funeral service and whether they prefer cremation or burial for their eventual place of rest.  This preference may be documented in their will.

Burials may take place in a churchyard, local authority or private cemetery.  After a cremation the ashes may either be buried in a churchyard or cemetery, or scattered in a Garden of Remembrance or some other favourite place.  Please remember that if you wish to use your own garden for this purpose, you may some day want to move house.

Help with funeral costs

If you feel financial help is required, please contact your Social Services Department or Citizens Advice Bureau for further advice.  The Funeral Directors may also be able to advise you.

Visit to the chapel of rest

Jubilee Wing, Queen Elizabeth Hospital

It may help to see your loved one after they have died.  This can be arranged either in the hospital’s Chapel of Rest by the mortuary staff, or in the Funeral Directors by the undertaker.

To arrange a visit in the hospital’s Chapel of Rest at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital it is important to make an appointment first by telephoning

  • 0191 445 2309 – between 8.45am and 4.00pm
  • 0191 482 0000 – between 4.00pm and 7pm and the hospital switchboard will contact the on-call Mortuary staff.

Visits to the Chapel of Rest are by appointment only, the last appointment being 7pm.  Visits are restricted to immediately family only.

The Chapel of Rest is sited on the basement floor of the Jubilee Wing and is accessed via the visitor’s door to the right hand side of the main Jubilee entrance.  There is parking available directly outside the chapel of rest.

Remembrance books for adult and children

The death of a loved one is always a sad time for members of that person’s family.  It can be important for the grieving process to mark that person’s life.  One way of doing this is to put their name into a Book of Remembrance.

If you would like to have an adult’s name entered then please complete the box at the bottom of this page and return it to:

The Chaplains,

Queen Elizabeth Hospital,

Sheriff Hill,

Gateshead

NE9 6SX

Telephone: 0191 445 2072

Please contact the chaplaincy if you would like to enter a child’s name into the Book of Remembrance.  You may also compose a short message to be incorporated into your entry.  The chaplains will provide advice and guidance if you wish.

There is no charge for an entry.  This facility is for those who die in the hospital or for the loved ones of members of staff.

Each book is turned daily and can be viewed at any time during the day or the evening.  If you wish to see your entry at any other time then please contact the chaplains.  This can be done by ringing the hospital switchboard on 0191 482 0000 or Direct Line 0191 445 2072.

What if I have a problem or concern?

If you feel that the Trust can be of further help to you, please contact the Bereavement Services who will be happy to assist on 0191 4452647 or email ghnt.bereavementcare@nhs.net

Alternatively, you may wish to address issues relating to the overall care of the person who has died.  The Trust has a Patients Advice Liaison Service (PALS) which can be contacted on 0800 953 0667 should you wish to discuss any concerns with a member of the team.

If you wish to raise your concerns through the formal process please contact: The Complaints Manager, Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sheriff Hill, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear NE9 6SX Tel: 0191 4456047.

The Trust takes all issues and complaints very seriously and will pursue a full investigation of any areas of concern that you raise.  Leaflets explaining both processes are available at the PALS office and on every ward and department of the hospital.

Improving our service

We constantly strive to improve our service.  One of the best ways we can dot this is by listening to the view so the people that use it.  We understand that this is a difficult time, but letting us know how you feel would be really valuable for the future.  You may at some point in the next 2-3 months, receive a questionnaire asking to give views about your experience.  If you are able, please take the time to complete and return it, we would really appreciate it.  Thank you.

May we ask?

In the midst of your grief may we ask the following of you so that we don’t inadvertently add to your distress:

  1. If your loved one regularly required an ambulance to attend any hospital or day centre, would you telephone 0191 2151515 and ask to cancel it.  
  • If your loved one has had the use of hospital or community property eg crutches/wheelchairs etc we would be grateful if you would arrange to have them returned to the appropriate centre.  Please contact the relevant centre to ask for further assistance in this matter.
  • If your loved one had any appointments, healthcare or other, it would be advisable to cancel them as soon as possible, or ask someone to do this on your behalf.  Within the hospital we have a local system to do this, but we may be unaware of other appointments form other sources.
  • The Bereavement Register can help reduce the amount of mail you receive.  Either complete the Bereavement Register leaflet or write to: The Bereavement Register, FREEPOST, Sevenoaks, Kent TN13 1YR with the following information:
  • Name
    • Full postal address
    • Date of Birth
    • Date of Death
    • Death Certificate Number (if you have it)

Coming to terms with grief

Whether the death was sudden and unexpected or had been anticipated for some time, the death of a relative or friend can be hard to come to terms with.  Grieving is a natural and normal process and it affects people in different ways.  You may experience a mixture of emotions such as numbness and shock, disbelief, guilt and anger and you may not understand what is happening to you.

It may help to share your feelings with a relative or friend who is also feeling the loss.  You might also wish to seek the support of a religious representative regardless of your beliefs and that includes the Hospital Chaplain who can put you in touch with an appropriate person of your own denomination.

Hospital Chaplains are available 24 hours a day.  The chaplaincy can be contacted via a member of staff or you can contact them through the hospital switchboard (Telephone 0191 4820000).  The chaplaincy also offers a very informal listening service to those who are bereaved.  This is not a religious or long-term counselling service, but it could help you if you wish to talk with someone outside of your immediate circle of family or friends.

There is a Chapel in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital which is located near to the Quenellies dining room.  The Chapel is separate from the Chapel of Rest and may be used for quiet and reflection, whether or not you belong to a particular denomination or faith.

It can take months, even years, to fully grieve the loss of a loved one, but there are a number of organisations that can offer you help, advice, support and comfort during this painful period.

Everyone will have their own ways of remembering the person who has died.  Talk about them, mention their name as often as you can and put the emphasis on the good things that have happened when they were alive.

Most important of all will be your own memories.

Useful numbers

Age concern

Offers bereavement support for the elderly (50+) in their own homes.

341 High Street, Gateshead. 

Tel: 0191 477 3559

Cruse

Offers bereavement support for all ages.

National Helpline: 0844 477 9400

Website: www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk

The compassionate friends

National Helpline: 0845 123 2304

Support and information daily from 10.00am – 4.00pm and

7.00pm – 10.00pm

Website: www.tcf.org.uk

Sands

Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society

Provides support for bereaved parents whose baby is stillborn or dies within the first 28 days of life

Tel: 0207 436 7940 – details of local support will be made available from this service.

Helpline: 0808 164 3332

Helpline from 9.30am to 5.30pm

Tuesday and Thursday evenings 6.00pm to 8.00pm

Website: www.uk-sands.org

Barnado’s Orchard Mosaic

For bereavement children and young people (up to age 18)

Tel: 0191 212 0237

The Samaritans

National Helpline: 0845 790 90 90 – 24 hours, local rate call charges apply.

Website: www.samaritans.org

Local Number: 0191 232 7272 – 24 hours, local rate call charges apply

Citizens Advice Bureau

The Davison Building, Swan Street, Gateshead, NE8 1BG

Tel: 0191 478 5100

Website: www.gatesheadcab.org.uk

Brake

Support for families affected by road crashes

Helpline: 0808 800 0401 from 10.00am-4.00pm Monday to Friday

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

Tel: 0844 561 6855 9am – 9pm daily

Winston’s Wish Children After bereavement

Support bereaved children

Tel: 0808 802 0021 9am – 5pm

Inquest

Provides advice and information to anyone facing an inquest and has unique experience and knowledge of the inquest system.

Tel: 0207 263 1111

Website: www.inquest.org.uk

Blossom

Bereavement and Loss Self-help and Support Meeting.

Based at St. Bede’s Day-care Unit, Dunston Hill Hospital.

Drop in anytime between 1.30pm – 3.30pm on the first and third Wednesday of every month.

For more information contact: Dunston Hill Hospital Reception

on 0191 445 6529

Data Protection

Any personal information is kept confidential.  There may be occasions where your information needs to be shared with other care professionals to ensure you receive the best care possible.

In order to assist us to improve the services available, your information may be used for clinical audit, research, teaching and anonymised for National NHS Reviews and Statistics. 

Further information is available via Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust website or by contacting the Data Protection Officer by telephone on 0191 445 8418 or by email ghnt.ig.team@nhs.net.

This leaflet can be made available in other languages and formats upon request.