Procedures and steps

Just after the death of your loved one

It is possible to visit your loved one in his or her room immediately after the death. You may also wish to return to the room after the body cleansing, once the medical devices have been removed. In compliance with the legal time limit, the body could not remain in the resuscitation department for more than ten hours. Unless there is a special health exception, you will of course be able to visit your loved one again in the mortuary. 

The washing of the deceased is carried out by the caregivers. You can express your wishes for this moment of meditation, such as taking the deceased in your arms, participating in his or her cleaning, dressing, reading a text or requesting a religious representative. Talk to the health care team, who will help you carry out your wishes to the extent possible and within the constraints of the cause of death.

Civil status

The declaration of death is made by the hospital to the town hall of the town where the death occurred, within 24 hours. Funeral services can obtain death certificates from the town hall, upon presentation of the family record book. You can also obtain this administrative information directly by contacting the hospital’s registry office. If you are unable or unwilling to travel, a family member can go in your place.

The future of the body

The decision regarding the funeral and the fate of your loved one’s body is entirely yours. After death, your loved one’s body is taken to the mortuary. Unless you are transported to your home or to a funeral home, your loved one will remain in the mortuary until the body is removed and the deceased is taken to his or her place of burial. It is essential that you take time to think about and decide what you want for your loved one’s funeral: burial, cremation or transportation abroad.

The burial is carried out by the hospital’s mortuary agents. The funeral home will then arrange for transportation, burial or cremation. The cost is assumed by the family, but in case of financial difficulties, there are aids available, which social workers can inform you about.

If you are considering abandoning the body, you can speak to one of the mortuary staff or to a doctor in the department. Take the time to think it through before you decide.

The mortuary room

The mortuary is a hospital department that receives and cares for the bodies of the deceased and allows the families to have the time necessary to organize the funeral.

The relatives of the deceased can visit the grave as many times as they wish. Ask about opening hours and days. The mortuary team is there to accompany you until the funeral of your loved one. Do not hesitate to ask them for advice and to address all your questions and requests. For example, you can entrust them with clothes that you have chosen and participate in the preparation of the body.

At your request, the list of funeral services will be given to you. The mortuary room allows for the respect of different faiths and rites. The mortuary staff will provide you with the contact information for your religious representatives.

Funeral rites

Funeral rites are very important to help you accompany your loved one to his or her final resting place and to offer a final tribute. The rites meet a need, and experience shows that those close to the deceased find comfort in them. You can choose these rites according to your religious beliefs, your culture and your family habits. 

In fact, you will organize the funeral service in collaboration with the funeral operator and the representatives of your faith. This time of celebration and commemoration, whether or not it is religious, is organized for the deceased and his or her loved ones. These precious moments will be etched in your memory for the rest of your life and are an important step in your grief. If you do not belong to any religion, you can choose other rites that will have similar functions to the religious rites. Take your time to explore all the alternatives.

The autopsy

The doctor may discuss with you the importance of performing an autopsy to help clarify the cause of death. Please note that this will only be done with your consent. If you refuse, your wishes will always be respected, unless the courts decide otherwise.

The autopsy is performed at the hospital. It is a medical act performed by forensic doctors who specialize in this field, with respect for the body of your loved one. The results of this autopsy will be sent to you, either by the hospital or by the deceased’s attending physician. Sometimes it can take several months before the full results are available.