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Death of a Person

1. Notification of Death

Notification by a carer or family member

Death of a person

If you are notified of a person's death by a carer or family member you should:

  1. Offer the condolences of the Local Authority;
  2. Provide reassurance that any services, Direct Payments, and financial contributions will be ceased;
  3. Provide any information or advice that may be required, or that may be beneficial; and
  4. Establish any other appropriate support that you may be able to provide.

Information, advice and support could include:

  1. Listening and allowing space to talk about the person who has died;
  2. Talking through the impact of the death on their own needs;
  3. Signposting to or supporting them to access appropriate support or bereavement counselling; or
  4. Agreeing to notify other professionals or services of the person's death.
Need to know
It may not always be appropriate for you to provide a carer or family member with information, advice or support at the time of notification. If this is the case you should consider making alternative arrangements to do so.

Death of a carer

If you are notified of a carer's death by a family member, or the person with Care and Support needs you should:

  1. Offer the condolences of the Local Authority;
  2. Provide reassurance that any carer's services, Direct Payments, and financial contributions will be ceased;
  3. Provide any information or advice that may be required, or that may be beneficial;  and
  4. Confirm whether alternative care is in place to meet the eligible needs of the person that were being met by the deceased carer.

Notification by a service provider or professional

Death of a person

If you are notified of the person's death by a professional, or by a service provider you should make a record of the death and then consider the most appropriate time and way to contact a carer or family member in order to offer condolences and support.

Click here to access the 'Supporting Carers and Families when a Person Dies' section of this procedure.

Death of a carer

If you are notified of a carers death by a professional, or by a service provider you should make a record of the death and then:

  1. Take steps to establish the impact of the carer's death on the person; and
  2. Confirm whether the person's eligible Care and Support needs are being met; and
  3. If not make arrangements to meet their needs.

Click here to access the 'Supporting the Person when a Carer Dies' section of this procedure.

Making a record of the death

You must make a record of the person/carer's death on their electronic file, which should include:

  1. The date that the person died;
  2. The cause of death, where known;
  3. How you were notified.

2. Notifying Others

If a multidisciplinary approach to care and treatment was provided prior to the person's death you should take steps to notify other members of the MDT, unless:

  1. They already know that the person has died; or
  2. A carer, family member, other professional or service provider intends to inform them.

MDT professionals could include:

  1. A Community or District Nurse;
  2. A Clinical Psychologist;
  3. A Consultant Psychiatrist;
  4. A GP;
  5. A Speech and Language Therapist;
  6. A Physiotherapist;
  7. An Occupational Therapist;
  8. A Dietician.

You should also notify relevant adult Care and Support services, including:

  1. Domiciliary or other care providers;
  2. Day services;
  3. Enablement;
  4. Housing services; and
  5. Anyone carrying out a safeguarding enquiry.

Notification can be in writing (e.g. e-mail) or via the telephone, depending on what is most appropriate.

The following information only should be disclosed, and should be done so with full regard for confidentiality:

  1. The date that the person died;
  2. The cause of death, where known;
  3. How you were notified.

3. Supporting Carers and Families when a Person Dies

In all cases

Unless it was a carer or family member that notified you of the person's death you should make appropriate contact with them to:

  1. Offer the condolences of the Local Authority;
  2. Provide reassurance that any services, Direct Payments, and financial contributions have been ceased;
  3. Provide any information or advice that may be required, or that may be beneficial; and
  4. Establish any other appropriate support that you may be able to provide.

Information, advice and support could include:

  1. Listening and allowing space to talk about the person who has died;
  2. Talking through the impact of the death on their own needs;
  3. Signposting to or supporting them to access appropriate support or bereavement counselling.
  4. Agreeing to notify other professionals or services of the person's death.

Appropriate contact should be the contact that would likely be most appreciated by the carer, and could be:

  1. Swift contact;
  2. Delayed contact;
  3. Telephone contact;
  4. Face to face contact;
  5. E-mail contact.

If you are unclear about how or when to make contact with a carer you should seek the support of your line manager.

Need to know
It may not always be appropriate for you to provide a carer or family member with information, advice or support the first time that you speak with them after the person's death. If this is the case you should consider making alternative arrangements to do so.

Carers

Where the Local Authority has been providing Support to a carer you should consider time limited monitoring arrangements to ensure that they have been able to access any help that they need.

4. Supporting the Person when a Carer Dies

Supporting the person

Unless it was the person with Care and Support needs (or their representative) that notified you of the carer's death you should make appropriate contact with them to:

  1. Offer the condolences of the Local Authority;
  2. Provide reassurance that any carers services, Direct Payments, and financial contributions have been ceased;
  3. Provide any information or advice that may be required, or that may be beneficial; and
  4. Confirm whether alternative care is in place to meet the eligible needs of the person that were being met by the deceased carer (see below).

Review and reassessment

If another informal carer is meeting the eligible needs of the person, and this appears sustainable you:

  1. Do not need to take any further action in respect of meeting the eligible needs of the cared for person; but
  2. You must offer any new carer an assessment of needs; and
  3. You should consider holding a proportionate review in 6 weeks time, or making other monitoring arrangements to ensure that the new care arrangements are working as intended.

If the eligible needs of the person are not being met, are only being met short term or are being met inappropriately you must:

  1. Carry out a full Care and Support Plan review; or
  2. Carry out a proportionate reassessment; and
  3. Consider the need to provide alternative interim or urgent support; and
  4. Consider the need to raise a safeguarding concern.

5. Ending Services

Ending services

Any services that are arranged, or provided by the Local Authority should be ended from the date that the person or carer died.

Click here to access the Commissioning and Brokerage Procedure, which provides guidance about ending a range of services.

Ending the Care and Support Plan/Support Plan

You can end the Care and Support Plan/Support Plan when all services in the plan have been ended.

6. Financial Contributions and Direct Payments

Financial contributions

You must notify the Financial Case Management team as soon as possible whenever a person dies. This applies even if:

  1. The financial contribution being made is zero; unless
  2. All of the services being provided were non chargeable (in which case no financial assessment would have ever taken place).

It is the responsibility of the Financial Case Management team to make arrangements for any financial contributions taken since the time of the person's death to be repaid to their estate.

Direct Payments

If the person/carer was receiving a Direct Payment you must notify the Financial Case Management team as soon as possible after their death.

It is the responsibility of the Financial Case Management team to make arrangements for any Direct Payments paid since the time of the person/carer's death to be repaid.

7. Safeguarding

If you believe that the death of a person with Care and Support needs is related to (or may be related to) abuse or neglect that they were experiencing (or could have been experiencing) you:

  1. Must raise a concern under safeguarding; and
  2. Must not close their case until any safeguarding enquiry has been carried out.

Click here to access the Adult Safeguarding Procedures, including how to recognise abuse and neglect, how to raise a concern, how to record safeguarding information.

Click here to access the Local Safeguarding Adults Board Multi-Agency Safeguarding Procedures

8. Closing the Case

You can proceed to close the case relating to the person/carer who has died when:

  1. All services are ended;
  2. All financial contributions and Direct Payments are ended;
  3. The Care and Support Plan/Support Plan is ended; and
  4. Any safeguarding enquiry is completed.
Need to know

You must also close a carer's case when:

  1. The deceased was a person with Care and Support needs; and
  2. They had a carer under the Care Act; and
  3. The carer is not providing Care and Support to any other person; and
  4. Any time limited professional support you are giving them after the person's death has ended.

9. Arranging a Funeral

Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 the Local Authority has a statutory duty to arrange for the burial or cremation of a person who lived in the area prior to their death, or who was found deceased in their area when it appears that no other suitable arrangements are being made, or are going to be made.

If you believe this to be the case discuss this with your line manager and take legal advice as necessary.

10. Attending a Funeral

Prior consent

You should not attend the funeral of a person or carer who has died without having sought prior consent from your line manager to do so.

In normal circumstances

Under normal circumstances it would not be appropriate for you to attend a funeral.

  1. Funerals are private occasions for family and friends, and you are neither.
  2. Attending a funeral can alter or blur the dimensions of your working relationship with an individual or family, making it more difficult to maintain professional boundaries in the future;
  3. Your attendance could be intimidating or intrusive to some family members;
  4. Information about a person's life that they had previously declined to disclose to you could be shared. This could present you with moral dilemmas around confidentiality and consent;
  5. The impact of a funeral on your own emotional resilience could be greater than anticipated.

In exceptional circumstances

If all of the following exceptional circumstances apply your line manager could decide to agree your attendance at the funeral:

  1. If you have been specifically asked to attend the funeral by an person or carer; and
  2. You knew the person or carer who has died for a significant period of time; and
  3. Your attendance would be beneficial to a person or carer (as opposed to being for your own benefit); and
  4. Your attendance would not be seen by any family member or person present as intrusive or intimidating; and
  5. Your attendance will not have a negative impact on any on-going involvement you will/may have; and
  6. You feel you will be able to maintain a professional position during the funeral.

Your attendance may also be agreed if the person or carer had:

  1. No family or friends; or
  2. Family and friends have made clear their intention not to attend the funeral.

Attending a funeral

If you attend a funeral you do so as a representative of the Local Authority and must maintain a professional position at all times in respect of your:

  1. Appearance;
  2. Communication; and
  3. Behaviour.

It would not normally be appropriate for you to attend a wake.

11. Your Emotional Resilience

It is important to acknowledge the impact on your own emotional resilience from:

  1. The death of the person or carer; or
  2. Your involvement in any actions following the death.

If you find that the death of a person or carer has an impact on your own emotional resilience or state you should speak to your line manager at the earliest opportunity in order to access any support that may be available to you.

Telford Adult Social Care Procedures