Telephone Call Script

“Notification of Death” Telephone Call Suggested Script

Introduce yourself and be clear about where you are calling from. Don’t just say hospice but state which hospice or hospital. State “I’m calling about Mr. ________”).

Pause

If it is the middle of the night or it sounds like the person you are calling may have been sleeping, ask, “Did I wake you up?” “Do you need a moment?”

Pause

I’m afraid I have some sad news. (try not to say bad news).

Pause

I’m sorry to tell you that Mr. ________ died this morning in his sleep. He looked so peaceful.

Pause

Do you want to come in and see him? We could keep him here on the unit if you like? (Family member may want to think about this and call you back).

I’m sorry. Will you be okay? We will be in touch and I can have our social worker (or chaplain, or psychologist, decedent affairs, or nurse manager) call you to help assist you with arrangements if you like.

Pause

Then you just need to confirm this and express your sympathy.

The pauses are very important as they give the person time to sort out this very upsetting news and try to make some sense of it. Often, the family will know why you are calling and, if given the chance, will say: “Oh no, he died!”
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