Office of Decedent Affairs
Immediately following the death of your loved one at UMHS
What to do before leaving the hospital:
The staff on the unit will make every effort to offer you comfort and information. Please ask if you need something special to help during this difficult time.
If you wish, you may stay at the bedside with your loved one for a period of time.
You may ask nursing staff to contact Spiritual Care or your social worker for additional support.
The physician or staff member will ask the next of kin or legal guardian to make decisions about the following:
- Organ/Tissue Donation – Let the doctor or nurse know right away if your loved one wished to be an organ/tissue donor. You will need to sign paperwork. Later, a representative from the Gift of Life may contact you to discuss this further.
- Anatomical Donation – If your loved one wished to donate his or her body to science, please discuss this with the doctor or nurse.
- Autopsy – The doctor will discuss autopsy with you. The next of kin or legal guardian may grant permission for an autopsy or partial autopsy. You will be asked to complete paperwork granting permission or refusing permission for autopsy. In certain circumstances, regardless of family wishes, a Medical Examiner will order an autopsy.
After leaving the hospital:
Select a funeral home or cremation society, and advise them that your loved one is at the University of Michigan Health System. The funeral director will contact the hospital to make arrangements for the release of your loved one.
You may want to contact other family, friends, and spiritual and/or community leaders to support and guide you through the early stages of bereavement.
Once you are able, you may want to review legal and financial documents. If necessary, contact your attorney to discuss specific legal issues.