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Remote verification of life extinct (BMA / RCGP)

During the COVID-19 pandemic the processes in relation to death registration and management across the UK have been changing to ensure the deceased are treated with the utmost respect, to help minimise delays and distress for families and to protect public health.

In these extraordinary times, there is a need for various groups of workers to work differently and together as one system, supporting people acting in new roles.

This guidance is designed to provide remote support by people (such as care workers) who have not had training in verifying death so that the verification process can be completed by a clinician safely and speedily.

If relatives/friends of the deceased wish to support the process before the undertaker arrives, care needs to be taken to ensure this is appropriate and conducted sensitively – no person should be asked to do anything they are uncomfortable with.

If it is not possible to support the process remotely, then alternative verification methods will be needed.

The clinician carrying out the procedure must inform the undertaker of any notifiable disease or any equipment e.g. syringe driver, catheter or pacemaker in place.

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