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Patient bereavement service
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Patient bereavement service

Please accept our sincere condolences if you are visiting this site following the loss of a relative or friend. Bereavement is never an easy experience for any person or family. When someone you care about dies, even if it was expected, it is often hard to take in. You may find that everything seems unreal, you may respond to things in an unusual way - feeling numb, bewildered and lost. There are many decisions and arrangements to make in a short space of time.

 

The bereavement service at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust offers practical help, advice and support.  It is the central point of contact for bereaved relatives in the first few days after the death of a loved one (please note unfortunately this is not a bereavement counselling service).


Contact 


Location: Level 2 Hospital Main Entrance

Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4.00pm (excluding Bank Holidays and weekends)

Telephone: 01322 428165 or 01322 428168

Help advice and information

When a death occurs on a ward, relatives will be given the Trust booklet entitled ‘What Happens Now - Information for Bereaved Relatives'. This booklet is an easy guide to what happens next and who you have to contact for information regarding deceased loved ones. Call the Patient Bereavement Service Office after midday and they will be able to assist you.


Please be aware that the certificate can take up to three working days to produce. This is because the completion of the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, must be completed by a doctor who has been directly involved in the care of the deceased. Therefore, there may be a delay in the completion of the certificate, dependent on the availability of the doctor involved. The team will do all they can to ensure this is completed as soon as possible for you. 

If your loved one passed away whilst in the Emergency Department (A&E) they will be referred to the coroner automatically and the team will provide you with information to explain this. 


Once you have received the certificate you will need to register the death and further details can be found on page 5 about this. However we recommend that you do not make an appointment with the registrar until you have

The bereavement officers will

  • advise if a death is referred to the Coroner for a post mortem
  • provide you with a medical certificate of cause of death
  • advise you on how to register the death
  • return any personal belongings left at the hospital 
  • advise you what to do next

 

If you are not a relative, you should bring with you proof of your identity and letter of authority signed by the nearest relative of the deceased.

Viewing arrangements

We fully appreciate that some families wish to see their loved on as soon as possible after death, however, it is not always possible to facilitate this. 


If you wish to view the deceased in the Chapel of Rest. the team will do all they can to make you as comfortable as possible during this time, and we ask that you do not attend the hospital without making prior arrangements for viewing. 


Please note that the mortuary team require the permission from the deceased’s next of kin for other family members or friends to attend a viewing.


To arrange an appointment please call the following number between 10am and 3pm: The mortuary is not open during weekends and bank holidays. Telephone 01322 428428.

Support

The time ahead may be a very difficult one for you and at Darent Valley Hospital, the Patient Bereavement Services work very closely with the Chaplaincy Team who can provide appropriate spiritual and pastoral care.

Looking ahead

Friendship group: the Darent Valley Hospital Friendship Group, is a group set up as a meeting place to have a chat, everyone is welcome, nothing formal. For further information please contact 01322 428392 and arrangements will be made for Joan to meet with you.


Please note the trust is independent of any funeral service provider.