Time of Loss: What Needs To Be Done

When a Death Occurs
There are many questions that arise when a death is imminent or actually occurs. Who do we call, where and when should the funeral be held, etc.

Sholom Chapels Mortuary is one of the first calls a family should make when a death occurs. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If a death should occur after normal business, our answering service will contact us and we will respond to your call within minutes. Once we are contacted, we will help guide a family through the process. First, we will need to know where the death occurred in a nursing home, hospital, or at home. Second, we would ask to speak with a family member to set things in motion. As soon as someone is entrusted to our care, the family is assured that we will observe the customs and traditions that have been followed throughout our history.

Death at a Home/Private Residence
When a death occurs at a home, without a nurse present or not under hospice care, 911 should be called. The paramedics, police, and/or county coroner will investigate the circumstances and then release the decedent to the custody of the funeral home.

When hospice is involved, prior to calling our mortuary, contact the hospice care provider. The nursing coordinator will contact the necessary authorities on the families’ behalf, and then call the funeral home. We encourage families to take as much time as they need with thier loved one, no matter where the death occurs, before calling the funeral home. Once we are called, we will come to the place of death and make the transfer to the funeral home. A time would be set for the family to meet at the funeral home to go over every aspect in the planning of their loved one’s service.

Death at a Convalescent/Skilled Nursing Facility
California law requires a decedent to be removed within 4 hours of death. As soon as the facility notifies family members of a loved one’s passing, the mortuary should be notified as soon as possible. It does take a bit of time with traffic for our staff to arrive to the facility, especially outside of the greater Los Angeles area. This will also give the family some time with their loved one, and the opportunity to collect their loved one’s belongings prior to our staff arriving to the facility for removal.

Death in a Hospital
When a death occurs in a hospital, the charge nurse, or nursing coordinator, will contact the family for the name and number of the mortuary selected for arrangements. If family members are present at time of death, the hospital will provide a “release form” for the next of kin to sign, thus releasing their loved one into the care of the funeral home. If family members are not present in the hospital at the time of death, some hospitals may take a “verbal authorization” over the telephone to release remains to the funeral home. More often, the hospital will either require a family member to go to the hospital to sign a release, or may do so via facsimile or e-mail.

Who should I call if a death occurs out of state or out of the country?
Call Sholom Chapels Mortuary first, at 818-899-7061. We have found that it is less expensive if you contact one funeral home. We can carry out all the details with our out of state affiliates through the Jewish Funeral Directors of America. This will translate into substantial savings to the family.