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When someone with pancreatic cancer dies

Dying is different for each person. It is a natural process, but you may feel frightened or worried about what will happen. Ask the doctor or nurse about anything that is worrying you. Dying is often very peaceful at the end.

It’s not always easy to know when someone has died. Their breathing will slow and become irregular. Sometimes they may take one or two last breaths after they seemed to have stopped breathing. They may seem to relax and may look pale.

“My mother’s death taught me not to be afraid of being with someone when they die. The hospice staff and chaplains were excellent at supporting me.”

After someone dies 

If your family member died in hospital, a hospice or a care home, the healthcare team will explain what happens next. If they died at home and no health professionals were there, you will need to contact their GP to come and confirm that they have died. In some areas, you can contact the district nurse. If it’s outside working hours, the GP answer-phone message will give you the number of the out of hours doctor.

Marie Curie have more information on their website about what happens when someone dies, including caring for the body and religious customs.

There are some things you need to do soon after someone dies.

  • Ask the GP or hospital doctor for a medical certificate so you can register the death.
  • Register the death at your local register office within five days of the death in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and within eight days in Scotland.
  • Arrange the funeral.

The GP or nurse should give you information about what you need to do. You can also find details of how to register a death, your local register office, and what else to do after someone dies on the:

If your family member died at home, they can stay there for as long as you wish before the funeral. When you are ready, the funeral director will move them to a funeral home if that is what you want. If they died in a hospital, hospice or care home, you can usually go to visit them in a private room if you want to.

Information Standard

Published March 2018

Review date March 2020

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