About this service

For patients who have passed away in hospital, we have a dedicated team, who are able to advise families of the next steps involved following a bereavement.

How can the bereavement team help?

Bereavement staff can offer practical support and advice on viewing the deceased and making funeral arrangements and offer a signpost service for requests for Bereavement support or grief counselling to specialist support agencies or via your GP    

What happens when a patient dies in hospital?

A member of staff from the Medical Examiner’s Office will call you on the morning of the next working day once they have been informed of your loved one’s death. They will advise you of the next steps and ask for the following information:

  • Your full contact details as next of kin
  • Whether you have made any decisions relating to Funeral arrangements
  • The name of the Funeral Director that you have appointed – by providing the name of your appointed Funeral Director, this gives staff consent to release your loved one into your appointed FD care (If you yet to make this decision, the Bereavement Office will contact you once the statutory paperwork has been completed)

The Medical Examiner is a senior doctor who was not involved in the care of the deceased patient. They will review the Hospital notes to ensure that they understand the circumstances of the patient’s death.

They will also be able to discuss any concerns that you have regarding the care provided and speak to medical staff involved in the care of your loved one and will facilitate the completion of the statutory paperwork. They are available to explain the cause of death and provide information on timescale of the completion of the statutory paperwork

Organ donation

Organ donation is the process by which a person can give their organs after their death to help others. We only discuss organ donation with families when all other treatment options have been explored and the decision has been made to withdraw life-sustaining treatment.

Find out more about organ donation and how it can help.

If your relative had expressed a wish to donate organs or tissues to help others after their death, or if it is the wish of the next of kin, please ask the doctors or nursing staff to contact the on-­call Specialist Nurse in Organ Donation via the hospital switchboard (01872 250000).

Contact information

  • Telephone: 01872 252713 (8:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday)

Where to find us

We have locations at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, and the West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance.

Royal Cornwall Hospital

The Bereavement Office is located halfway along the Link Corridor, just past main Link Corridor entrance on route to the Tower Block.

West Cornwall Hospital

The Bereavement and General Office at West Cornwall Hospital are combined. It is located behind the reception desk at the hospital’s main entrance.

Page last reviewed: 3 January 2024

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