Few events in our lives are as traumatic as the unexpected death of a loved one. It’s one thing to watch it unfold in a movie or a TV show, but it’s a very different experience when it happens to us personally.
Did you recently endure the unattended death of a beloved friend or family member? It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot, but exactly what does it mean?
Most importantly, what steps do you need to take in the aftermath of such a tragedy?
There are a lot of things to consider, so we’ll break them down one by one. Keep reading for your guide to dealing with unattended death, including where to find the best cleaning and remediation company in your locale.
Defining Unattended Death
First of all, what does this term mean? Is it the same as unexpected or unintended death?
Unattended death occurs when someone dies alone and is not immediately found. Their body may not be found for days, weeks, or even longer. This is sometimes the case when someone commits suicide or they live alone without friends or family nearby to check on them.
Here are some common causes and circumstances surrounding unattended death:
- Old age: elderly people who live alone are most likely to die in their homes
- Sickness: someone may not know they’re sick and may pass away at home alone
- Overdose: drug users may overdose on prescription or illegal drugs
- Accidents: someone may slip and fall or get trapped under something heavy
- Suicide: not always considered unattended death, but it’s more common when someone lives alone
- Homicide: violent crimes or murders often go undiscovered for a period of time
The main factor that determines unattended death is that the person is not found right away. This differs from unexpected death (when someone dies suddenly with no warning), although this can also be unattended if they’re not discovered immediately.
What about the term “unintended” death? This is a legal term that describes involuntary manslaughter, so this would not apply to unattended deaths.
Why You Need Biohazard Cleaning Services
Admittedly, biohazard cleanup isn’t the first thing that comes to mind after the death of a loved one. But after the body is removed and the authorities have left, the responsibility to clean up will fall on you.
Aside from the emotional trauma, this is problematic for two main reasons.
First, an undiscovered body moves quickly through the decomposition process. Within hours of death, the body will release harmful bacteria from the digestive tract, causing bloat and decay. No one should have to see their loved one in such a disturbing state.
Second, there are a host of health and safety hazards that come with unattended death. The bacteria and other materials released at death can be extremely dangerous to anyone nearby. If not cleaned properly, it can also pose a health risk to future residents of the home.
For these reasons, you’ll need to call professional remediation services after the body has been moved. They have the tools and training necessary to clean, sanitize, and deodorize the home and ensure it’s safe in the future.
First Steps to Take
Now that you know what unattended death is and why you need professional cleaning services, let’s briefly outline some steps to take in the aftermath.
1. Contact the Police
This is likely to be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life, so take a moment to compose yourself. Step outside, take a few deep breaths, and try to remain calm.
When you’re able to, call the authorities and explain what you found. Be sure to explain your relationship to the deceased. Wait outside until they arrive and be prepared to answer any questions they might ask.
2. Make Arrangements for the Body
Most of the time, the authorities will arrange to have the body moved to a coroner or medical examiner. That way, they can perform an autopsy and determine the exact cause of death.
If you’re closely related to the deceased, you’ll need to make arrangements with a local funeral home. If you’re a property manager or landlord, you should immediately contact the person’s next of kin so they can make arrangements.
3. Hire Biohazard Cleanup Services
As mentioned above, it’s neither safe nor healthy to attempt to clean the area yourself after an unattended death. Even if the home appears to be clean, airborne pathogens may be present that could make you (or future residents) very sick.
Call a professional remediation company to ensure the job gets done right and the home is safe for future use.
4. Notify Family & Friends
Whether you’re directly related to the deceased or not, it’s your responsibility to alert family members as to what happened. This will allow everyone to make necessary arrangements and begin the grieving process.
5. Seek Professional Counseling
We all respond to stress and trauma in different ways. If you’re having a difficult time coping with the emotions and memories of what you found, you may want to speak with a grief counselor. They can help you navigate your feelings and better cope with the aftermath of the tragedy.
Find the Best Remediation Company Near You
In the wake of a tragedy, cleaning services might be the last thing on your mind. Discovering the unattended death of a loved one is both frightening and traumatic.
However, professional biohazard cleanup is essential to restore the location to a safe condition. No matter how you’re feeling, this is one task you shouldn’t attempt to handle on your own. For your own health and safety, it’s best to call a team of professionals.
Spaulding Decon has over 15 years of experience in cleaning and restoring scenes of unattended death. Our compassionate specialists will be sensitive and discreet and they clean up and restore the scene.
Click here to find a location near you or call us 24 hours a day at (833) 804-6600.