This chapter was last reviewed and/or updated April 2021.

1. Introduction

The intention of this regulation – Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009: Regulation 16 – Notifications – is to ensure that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is notified of the deaths of people who use services so that where needed, CQC can take follow-up action.

Notifications include those deaths that:

  • occurred while services were being provided in the carrying on of a regulated activity; or
  • have, or may have, resulted from the carrying on of a regulated activity.

Notifications about deaths must be sent to CQC without delay. All providers must send their notifications directly to CQC unless the provider is a health service body, local authority or provider of primary medical services and it has previously notified the NHS Commissioning Board Authority (now known as NHS England) of the death.

Providers must use forms provided by CQC to make notifications under this regulation. Further information about how to make any required notification to CQC can be found here.

Practitioners may find it helpful to confirm with providers that they have followed the correct steps.

2. Responsibilities following the Death of a Person being Supported

This information is to advise practitioners of what should occur if a person dies whilst placed in a care home, and they do not have the finances or family to pay for a funeral.

Where appropriate, it is good practice for homes to develop end of life plans with their residents, so they are prepared for making arrangements after a death (see End of Life Care chapter).

If a person has died, it is the home’s responsibility to contact their local district council, in accordance with their contractual duties.

Under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 the local authority has a statutory duty to make arrangements for the funeral or cremation of a person who has died within the borough, if the person has no family or their family members are not willing to pay for the funeral arrangements and the person does not have sufficient savings to cover the costs. This is known as a public health funeral.

Each district council (authority) is different as to which particular department will deal with these incidences, so the home is advised to ring the general contact number of their local district council.

The registering of the death with the registrar within five days should be left to the local district council. If another person or organisation registers the death, they may become responsible for the costs.

There is no means test for the possibility of family paying; it is accepted if the family state that they are not willing or cannot afford to pay.

Where Lincolnshire County Council is acting as an appointee and where they have been notified of the death, the Appointee Team will arrange payment of the funeral fees from the person’s account if the person has sufficient funds in their account.

The Appointee Team will also ensure all accounts are in order, due money returned to and paid from the account, as appropriate.

If they are contacted, the Appointee Team would advise the notifier to instruct the district council to inform the registrar of the death, if they have not already done so.

Further practical guidance on case closure processes for practitioners can be found on the Mosaic Guidance and Training Hub.

2.1 Learning Disabilities Service

For a death of a service user in the Learning Disabilities Service, practitioners are required to alert the Head of Service and complete the LeDeR / Learning Disability Mortality Review. Further information can be found on the NHS England Website.