Discovering the remains of someone who has passed away can be traumatizing, shocking and overwhelming no matter what caused the death, be it natural, suicide, or even a homicide. Sometimes, we’ll receive a call from an individual who owns a rental property and found one of the renters had passed away in the apartment only because the rent was several weeks late. Other times, we will speak with a woman who went to check on her parents after not hearing from them just to discover her mom had passed away in her house.
Most often, the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t know what to do. After death, cleanup is not something that most individuals have to deal with, and many people have questions and need help knowing what to do next. We’re sharing 5 steps you should follow if you ever find yourself in this situation and wondering what to do about an unattended death.
What Is Unattended Death?
Most unattended deaths happen to older individuals or someone who lives alone and doesn’t have relatives or friends to check on them. Unattended death, or undiscovered death, is when an individual passes away and the remains aren’t discovered for a period of time. It could be hours, days or even weeks before the body is discovered. When this happens, the body starts to decompose. A decomposing body that is left alone or unattended starts to leak biological fluids and the muscles and tissues begin to break down. Depending on the time the body has sat unattended and weather conditions, a decomposing body can invite things like bacteria, toxins, mold, odors, and insects into a home. In some cases, depending on the severity of the decomposition, the death can affect the livability of the home.
What Should You Do About An Unattended Death?
There are certain steps to be taken to properly handle the remains of the deceased. Oftentimes, there will be bodily fluids, like blood, to cleanup, odors to remove, and infectious waste to be disposed of properly. It is imperative that a home is properly cleaned and sanitized after a death has occurred. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s what to do:
The most important thing is to contact the authorities. They will need to come in and determine if an investigation is needed. Even if you suspect the individual passed away from natural causes. The coroner will then confirm the cause of death.
Arrange transportation of the deceased.
Oftentimes, the body will be taken to the local coroner’s office to determine the cause of death. If foul play was suspected an investigation will ensue. If the individual passed away due to natural causes, it is up to the family to arrange for transportation of the body to a mortuary or crematorium.
Contact friends and family.
If you knew the deceased, you can contact friends or relatives to tell of the individual’s unattended passing. It’s also a good time to let the individual’s local church know of the passing and begin funeral arrangements and planning.
Don’t do the cleanup yourself.
Most of the time, the cleanup of an unattended death is up to the individual’s family. It is important that you refrain from a do-it-yourself cleanup in this circumstance because biohazard cleanup can be very dangerous. When a body starts decomposing, it can invite a host of harmful things into the home like toxins, pathogens and bacteria. Don’t risk the health of you or your family by trying to clean the area yourself.
Hire a professional after death cleanup service.
A professional unattended death cleanup company, like On Call Bio-Minnesota, is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured company that can properly clean and sanitize unattended deaths, medical traumas, crime scenes, suicides, and other biohazards. We have cleaned many unattended death scenes and know what to look for, where to look for it, and how to properly disinfect and clean it. Our professional staff will follow industry-standard safety and disinfection procedures. We remove any property as appropriate and dispose of it following the Minnesota biohazard procedures. Once our professional staff is done with the scene, you can be assured it will be safe and properly cleaned.
On Call Bio-Minnesota serves Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth and their surrounding suburbs with the foremost unattended death cleanup services in Minnesota. We also travel throughout the state. Contact us today to assist in your time of need.