Notification of death
Obtain fundamental information concerning the identity of the deceased, the circumstances of their death, where their body is situated and necessary home transport.
Determine who is going to deliver the news to whom (relatives/partner). By law, this is often dealt with by the police. They can, for example, determine who is officially registered at the address of the deceased (children), but they only inform the immediate next of kin.
It is often required to not be alone in order to announce news to parents, siblings, and partners.
- Never by telephone! And never unintentionally (loud walkie-talkie during emergency treatment or search for missing persons, loud cockpit conversations or in a cafeteria, within audible distance of relatives, friends, colleagues, press).
- Find an enclosed room in which everything can be explained calmly and clearly.
- Take your time and if possible be helped by another person.
- Await the conscious ability to take things in.
- Introduce yourself officially: name, function, task: possible reference to particular connection with the deceased.
- Give a clear and unambiguous description of what has happened.
- Make allowance for reactions of grief (e.g. fear, helplessness, despair, catalepsy, panic, fury, feelings of guilt, screaming, tears, aggression or auto-aggression ).
- Accept overwhelming feelings (reproach, aggressive behavior toward the bearer of the news and others) and do not take it personally.
- React objectively, patiently and calmly.
- Neither ignore nor increase feelings of guilt, but put them into perspective.
- Endure silence and speechless grief, do not talk all the time.
- Do not try to offer advice.
- Help parents to adopt the courage required to explain the news of the death to their children themselves.
- Don´t forget the children. Leave them with their family. Ensure that someone is looking after them (they do grieve as well, but possibly very different than adults).
- Consider involving other friends, acquaintances: “Who would you like to inform about this or have with you?”
- Where and with whom can people wait for relatives?
- Is (spiritual) assistance required?