E: support@e-carehub.co.uk

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D304. Death of a Person Using Services in Domiciliary Care

Policy Statement

This policy provides guidance to care staff in the event of their having a role to play in the arrangements that must be made after the death of a person using services.

The policy should be used with reference to {{org_field_name}}’s policy on end-of-life care. It is written in line with Regulation 9: Person-centred Care of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014. This regulation requires service providers to ensure that the care and treatment of people using services must be appropriate, must meet their needs and must reflect their preferences, including at the time of their death.

{{org_field_name}} will comply with all legal requirements and best practice guidance relating to the death of a person using services, including the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009, Regulation 16: Notification of Death of a Person Who Uses Services, which states that a registered person (provider or manager) must send notifications about deaths of people, where the deaths occur during the carrying out of {{org_field_name}} or in connection with it.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is introducing a new regulatory approach for health and care providers, integrated care systems and local authorities. These changes reflect the evolving landscape in health and social care. Whilst on-site inspections remain essential elements of performance assessments and the opportunity to observe the care people receive, they are not the only way the CQC will assess quality.

In the event of a death, either expected or sudden, {{org_field_name}} follows all required procedures and provides support to bereaved relatives, friends and other people using services who may be affected. It ensures all staff comply with the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on Handling the Deceased with Suspected or Confirmed Covid-19.

It is the policy of this agency to make sure that in the event of a death, either expected or sudden, it follows all required procedures and provides support to bereaved relatives, friends and other people using services who may be affected.

It is recognised that people receiving domiciliary care services could die for reasons that are unrelated to the services provided. In most cases, {{org_field_name}} will not be involved in the arrangements made after someone’s death.

Guidance if a Person Using Services Dies with Suspected Coronavirus

If a person using services dies, precautions should be followed to protect staff if the cause is unknown.

Standard infection control precautions (SICPs) and transmission-based precautions (TBPs) should be sufficient to protect those handling the deceased with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 while the deceased person remains in {{org_field_name}} environment.

Care staff should comply with the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on Handling the Deceased with Suspected or Confirmed Covid-19.

This states that while risk of transmission from Covid-19 from the deceased is low, there may be ongoing risk of infection from handling body fluids and tissues where infection is suspected or confirmed. The exact duration that SARS-CoV-2 can remain infectious in body fluids and tissues in a deceased body is unknown. Standard infection control precautions (SICPs) and transmission-based precautions (TBPs) should be sufficient to protect those handling the deceased with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 while the deceased person remains in {{org_field_name}} environment.

Precautions are outlined which includes:

No further precautions are required unless Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) are being undertaken.

This guidance remains under review and may be updated in line with the changing situation as required. This agency will ensure it regularly checks for updates.

If notified of a death, {{org_field_name}} will send its condolences to the family members of the bereaved and will sensitively address any termination of contract issues as and when appropriate.

There could be instances, however, when someone dies while care service staff are actively involved and they may need to act to make sure that due process is followed.

For example, care staff could find a person dead when arriving or they could be present when a person using services dies. It is also possible that agency staff could be closely involved in the provision of end-of-life care.

It is {{org_field_name}}’s policy to make sure that in the event of a death, either expected or sudden, it follows all required procedures and provides support to bereaved relatives, friends and others affected.

Actions to be Taken after Death of a Person Using Services

The key actions to be taken include the following (not during a pandemic).

  1. In the event of visiting a home and finding a person apparently dead, immediately call for an ambulance/emergency services.
  2. Notify the line manager, who might contact the next of kin, police or GP in response to the needs of the situation (or instruct the staff to do any of these things).
  3. Make note of the time of arrival and finding the person evidently dead. Record the date and time of death if this occurs in the care worker’s presence.
  4. Notify the GP if appropriate, though in most circumstances this will be done by a relative.

In certain circumstances, {{org_field_name}} manager might need to do the following.

  1. Seek verification of the death from a medical practitioner or, if an expected death, from a registered nurse who is qualified to carry out the verification procedures.
  2. Notify the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in line with its “Notifying the Death of a Service User” reporting procedures (Regulation 16 of the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009).
  3. Identify a responsible person to complete the laying out procedures.
  4. Identify a responsible person to complete the necessary legal procedures, such as registering the death.
  5. Record any unusual circumstances surrounding the death that might need further investigation.
  6. Consider if there is likely to be a post-mortem or coroner’s inquest and follow the required procedures if so.
  7. Identify any bereavement support, counselling or occupational health support needs of staff who are emotionally affected by the person’s death or the events surrounding it.
  8. Identify who will be responsible for resolving the practical arrangements such as the funeral and any outstanding financial affairs concerning {{org_field_name}} — this will usually be a relative or in the case of outstanding financial payments, the executor of the person’s estate. Occasionally, {{org_field_name}} might need to contact the local authority, if the person to whom it has been providing a service has no next of kin or someone who can make the necessary arrangements.
  9. Be prepared to communicate and co-operate with any other agencies that might need to investigate the death, eg the police, local safeguarding authority, CQC.
  10. Prepare staff for any such involvement.

Practices that Involve Close Contact with the Body

During and post Covid-19 pandemic, it is essential people have their cultural and religious beliefs respected.

In some communities, deceased bodies are cared for by appropriately trained volunteers, or other family members. It is recommended those with underlying conditions should consider seeking advice from health professionals regarding whether they should undertake such a role and provide care for the deceased.

Further guidance for staff who manage the deceased is in the HSE publication: Managing Infection Risks When Handling the Deceased.

Registration of Death

The Coronavirus Act 2020 and pandemic enabled a temporary change to the law, and this Act, which introduced easements to death certification processes and cremation forms during the pandemic, was repealed on 24 March 2022.

The following provisions are continuing:

The form Cremation 5, which was suspended during the pandemic, will not be re-introduced after the Coronavirus Act expires and has now permanently been abolished

Training

All new staff are taken through {{org_field_name}}’s policy on the death of a person using services as part of their induction training.

{{org_field_name}} also provides staff with training on bereavement and loss as part of its ongoing training programme using staff from a bereavement counselling service as trainers.

This training focuses on how people cope with death, personally and culturally, and in respect of religious and non-religious beliefs. It also focuses on the diverse customs and practices used to mark a person’s death and how to provide emotional support to people who are grieving.

This organisation will ensure all staff are aware of and comply with current Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on Handling the Deceased with Suspected or Confirmed Covid-19.


Responsible Person: {{org_field_registered_manager_first_name}} {{org_field_registered_manager_last_name}}

Reviewed on: {{last_update_date}}

Next review date: this policy is reviewed annually (every 12 months). When needed, this policy is also updated in response to changes in legislation, regulation, best practices, or organisational changes.

Copyright ©2024 {{org_field_name}}. All rights reserved

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