Any NON-HOSPICE death occurring, witnessed or unwitnessed, in a home will be investigated by the Coroner's office. The Coroner or a Deputy Coroner will come to the place of death, speak with family.
In every situation, when a non-hospice death occurs at home, 911 should be called immediately. Typically, Fire/Rescue EMS and local Law Enforcement will respond to evaluate for and administer medical treatment or transport as indicated. If the individual is pronounced at the scene, Law Enforcement will notify the Coroner's Office. Family is not responsible for calling the Coroner's Office. The family is not authorized to directly call the Funeral Home at this time either. They will need to wait until the Coroner's office completes their investigation and releases the body to the Funeral Home of choice or transports the body back to the morgue for further studies. (See details of Death Investigation)
It is the duty of the attending physician and hospital staff to notify the Coroner's Office in the event of a death as outlines in "Reportable Deaths". If in doubt, any death should be reported so that the Coroner can assess the need and extent of investigation. The family and friends are not responsible for this notification but are always welcome to call the Coroner's Office regarding any questions or concerns related to such a death.
In the event that a registered Hospice patient dies at home, family is to notify the Hospice nurse on call for that individual. That Hospice nurse will then notify the Coroner's Office as to the death, reviewing the patient's history and circumstances surrounding the death. The Coroner's Office typically does not come to the home to investigate this type of death unless there are suspicious circumstances, any recent trauma or questions regarding medications or quality of care. Family are always welcome to call the Coroner's Office regarding any questions or concerns related to such a death.
Nursing Home Deaths
In the event that a McHenry County Nursing Home patient dies, the Coroner's Office is notified by the nurse or physician attending the patient. A review of the patient's medical history, circumstances surround the death, recent traumatic/accidental events, quality of care issues and medications is conducted. Under usual circumstances, the decedent's body will be released by the Coroner's office upon the notification call. However, an onsite investigation may occur if circumstances warrant such.
In any other setting, when a death or deaths occur, or a body is found, 911 is to be called immediately. DO NOT call the Coroner's Office directly or your local Funeral Home. You need to call 911.