How To Deal With An Undiscovered Death

Tuesday 16th November 2021

Sophie Rioch

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CONTENTS 

The unexpected discovery of a person who died some time ago is a huge shock.  

If the deceased person was a loved one, you’ll have to make certain practical arrangements even though you’re experiencing great trauma and grief. These include contacting the authorities, organising the removal of the body, and arranging for undiscovered death cleaning.  

At ICE Cleaning, we offer sensitive and discreet trauma cleaning services, helping to lift some of the burden from you at this difficult time.  

Why might you find an undiscovered death? 

Sadly, people do sometimes die alone, whether from natural or unnatural causes.  

You might discover a deceased friend or relative after growing concerned that you haven’t heard from them in a while. Or perhaps you notice something suspicious at a neighbour’s home, such as parcels left on the doorstep.  

All of these situations are upsetting or deeply traumatic, so remember to go easy on yourself and seek professional support, both practical and emotional. 

At ICE Cleaning, we can ease some of the pressure on you by taking care of trauma cleaning after the body has been removed.  

Who to contact if you find an undiscovered death 

Finding a dead body is an awful experience. It’s even worse if the person was someone you knew and loved, or if the death was violent or unexplained.  

You may well react with shock, fear and confusion. So it’s important you get help straight away from professionals who are trained to act calmly and decisively in such situations.   

If the person’s death was unexpected, or they are a stranger to you, your first port of call is the emergency services. Speak to the police, or the ambulance service if you are not sure if the person is still alive.  

The police will attend, and may well declare a crime scene. They will also contact the coroner, as every unexplained, violent or unnatural death must be investigated.  

If the person’s death was expected and they died at home, you should call their GP or on-call doctor. They will visit to certify the death and give you the relevant paperwork.  

Once those legal formalities are complete, you (or the deceased person’s next-of-kin if that’s not you) can start making arrangements such as organising a funeral director to remove the body. Within five days (eight in Scotland), you’ll need to register the death with your local authority.  

When you’re ready, and have been given the go-ahead by the authorities, you can call our experienced team to discuss our trauma cleaning services.  

How to keep yourself safe 

After a person dies, their body must be handled in a dignified and hygienic manner to keep everyone safe.  

When a body lies undiscovered for a day or more, it will start to change post-death. It’s very hard to see a loved one like this, so it’s wise to get professional support.  

The body will begin to decompose, causing an unpleasant odour. Bodily fluids including urine and faeces will be released naturally. Depending on the cause of death, there could be blood. Bacteria and viruses can be present or develop, posing an infection risk to you.  

Also, bodies attract flies very quickly after death, and these attract other insects over time.  

Don’t forget: not all contamination is visible to the naked eye, so professional biohazard cleaning is essential.  

Plus, if the death was violent or accidental, there could be dangers present. These might include drug paraphernalia, faulty appliances or equipment, or even weapons. If so, the police might declare a crime scene, meaning that you need to leave it untouched until given permission.  

All the above could present a significant health risk to you, so it’s best to wait outside for the emergency services to arrive.  

Once the body has been removed (and the police have given the go-ahead if relevant) don’t try to clean the area yourself. Instead, protect yourself by arranging for expert biohazard cleaning. At ICE Cleaning, our teams are trained and equipped to deal with these situations, and are kitted out with suitable PPE to keep them safe.  

How to handle your emotions 

Discovering a death is a highly shocking experience, and different people react in very different ways.   

It’s possible that you will deal with the situation calmly at first – but then develop emotional problems once the urgency is over. People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often experience flashbacks to the event.  

If the death took place in your home, perhaps when you were away on holiday, you might feel uncomfortable continuing to live there. If the person was a loved one, you will be grieving, too.  

Don’t try to bottle up your emotions, or deal with them alone: reach out to your friends and family for support.  

Seek medical help, too: your GP can refer you to a mental health specialist, or you can find one privately by searching for a registered therapist in your area with expertise in trauma and bereavement.  

At ICE Cleaning, we recognise what an awful time this is for you. We endeavour to provide a sympathetic, sensitive and discreet trauma cleaning service, helping you through the worst.  

Trauma cleaning 

All our technicians are trained, qualified and equipped to carry out undiscovered death cleaning services with the utmost discretion and care. We are fully equipped with PPE and specialist tools and products to clean the scene safely to an extremely high standard.  

When you contact us, we will come to assess the scene so we can explain exactly what steps we will need to take. We’ll also give you a free quotation. 

Our work includes: disposing of biohazards; removing drug paraphernalia, medications and other waste; cleaning up bodily fluids; disinfecting the affected area; removing odours; and pest control.  

Our teams can also include our new ICE SHIELD® solution at the end of the clean, a free of charge service to fully sanitise the area and leave behind a persistent layer of 28-day surface protection. 

Our professional teams can handle situations including accidents, decomposing bodies, crime scenes, homicides and suicides. Where necessary, we can work with the police and other authorities to deal with crime scene clean-ups.  

Contact us on enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk or 0208 066 0360 now to discuss how we can help you.  

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