What To Do If You Discover An Unattended Death

An unattended death is a death that happens and the body isn’t found for a few days or weeks or a longer time. Caregivers or family members often encounter this with an elderly person or family member. It can be horrifying as well as tragic to walk into a home and find a person dead. However, some important steps should be taken when encountering such a situation. It’s vital as a family member, neighbor, or even a caregiver, to know what to do if you encounter a dead body. 

What To Do If You Discover An Unattended Death

The first step is to ascertain that the person is indeed deceased. Check for a pulse. If the person isn’t dead, you’ll want to seek medical attention immediately. If there is no pulse, you’ll still need to call 911 but you’ll be reporting that you’ve found a dead body and you won’t require medical attention for the person.

Avoid touching anything until authorities arrive. If this was a homicide or suicide, you don’t want to contaminate the scene. You should wait outside for the authorities. You’ll be asked to document your findings by the police. You may also need to contact the family of the deceased. If an autopsy is required to ascertain how the deceased passed away the police will arrange for this. 


In some cases, depending on if you’re family or not, you’ll have to arrange for the coroner to transport the body of the deceased to the mortuary. You’ll have to sign paperwork and arrange for the body to be buried in a casket, or cremated. Each situation will be slightly different so you’ll have to make these arrangements accordingly. Next of kin are responsible to make these arrangements. 


The clean-up process can’t begin until the investigation at the scene is complete. If it was a suicide or a homicide the scene must remain untouched so that the investigation can be conducted first. 

Don’t attempt to clean the scene of the unattended death alone. Refer to professionals like https://kleenslate.com.au/unattended-death-clean-up/. Depending on how long the body was decomposing, there could be biohazards that could make you ill or worse. Instead, you’ll want to hire a professional cleaning service that deals with cleaning up an unattended death scene. 

Even if the death was due to natural causes, there could be biohazards so you mustn’t attempt to clean this alone. In the case of homicide or suicide, there may be splatters of all sorts of biohazard materials on the walls or even the ceiling. 

Many bioremediation services specialize in proper disinfection and sanitization clean-up procedures for unattended deaths. Until these proper procedures have been completed, the property, rental unit, or house may not be rented or sold. 


Make sure to document everything as well. You’ll need this information and documentation for the insurance process. 

It’s important to remember that death is a natural part of life and when it’s natural causes, this is to be anticipated. If the death was a homicide or suicide, you may wish to consider counseling to help you deal with the situation.