What Is An Unattended Death?

Tuesday 9th January 2024

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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A specialist cleaner decontaminating a room


An unattended death refers to a situation where someone dies alone, and their body is not discovered for days, weeks, or even longer. Such instances can be due to various reasons such as isolation, lack of immediate family, or being estranged from relatives.

We offer a wide range of trauma cleaning services, here at ICE Cleaning, including undiscovered death cleaning. Our biohazard specialists can be sensitive and discreet. In an emergency, they can be on site within a matter of hours of your call, no matter where you are in the UK. 

Read on to find out more about unattended death cleaning.

What should you do when you encounter an unattended death?

Your first action must be to call emergency services immediately. The police will work with the coroner services to understand the cause of death and carry out an investigation.

While waiting for authorities, resist any urge to touch or move anything. Leave the scene or the property, and wait for the police to confirm that you can re-enter after their investigation concludes. Moving anything could compromise their ability to uncover what happened, which might have legal consequences, too.

An unattended death can also pose health risks due to potential biohazardous substances present at the scene, like bodily fluids and blood. Make sure you stay safe by keeping your distance from any such hazards until professional help arrives. 

Finally, avoid attempting clean-up on your own. This task requires specialist training and equipment, and must be carried out by professional trauma cleaners. Instead, bring in trauma cleaners immediately. To learn more about what to do after an unattended death, readthis blog.

Why you must bring in professional trauma cleaners 

Unattended deaths pose unique challenges and concerns. The main issue arises with the natural process of decomposition which starts almost immediately after death. The body could be far into the decomposition process which can affect the condition of the property and create potential health risks for those who discover or need to deal with the aftermath. 

Professional trauma cleaners have the training, experience, and equipment to handle these dangerous situations properly and safely.

Trauma cleaning is dangerous

Biohazards like blood could be present which contain harmful pathogens. These can transmit diseases like HIV, and Hepatitis B and C if not handled correctly. Some pathogens can survive outside of the body for long periods of time. 

Other biohazards that may be present include drug paraphernalia, like used needles, and weapons which could injure you if handled incorrectly. You can find out more about the dangers of trauma cleaning in this blog.  

They can remove any pests

Insects and pests are particularly likely to be present at the scene of an unattended death as the body will be in the process of decomposing. Professionals will have plenty of experience removing them from the environment. 

Cleaners can dispose of hazardous waste

Apart from managing biological risks, professionals ensure compliance with legal disposal requirements and can take care of it for you after clean up. 

They will alleviate the emotional burden of the clean up

Specialists can clean up everything discreetly and respectfully. They will arrive in plain vans and clothes, and can allow you to focus on other pressing matters. Cleaning up after a death, particularly if you knew person who died, can be especially upsetting. 

A thorough, specialist clean is required

Trauma scene restoration is also not just about surface-level cleanliness, either; it encompasses deep cleaning techniques that remove all traces of any biohazards and make sure the environment is safe to re-enter. Thorough decontamination protocols are required in order to prevent future health complications.

Professional teams employ industrial-grade products along with tried-and-tested methods developed through years of experience with trauma cleaning. They can give you peace of mind that the property will be returned to its previous condition as if the event did not happen.  

The trauma cleaning process

Cleaning a house after an unattended death is no small feat. It calls for a methodical approach, blending meticulous cleaning with strict adherence to health and safety regulations.

Initial assessment and safety measures

First up, professionals carry out a thorough assessment. They evaluate the circumstances to determine the most suitable approach. 

The team will then put on personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, masks, and hazmat suits. This gear shields them from biohazards such as bloodborne pathogens which can be present at these scenes.

Biohazard removal and disinfection

The cleaners then remove all traces of the blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazards left behind after the unattended death. They will not just get rid of visible remnants but also any lurking bacteria or viruses.

Restoration and odour elimination

After ensuring every inch is sanitised, they can eliminate all lingering odours using advanced techniques like ozone treatments. You can learn more about the trauma cleaning process in this blog.

Get in touch

Our experienced trauma cleaners can also carry out crime scene cleaning, forensic cleaning, and road traffic accident clean up. They have been accredited by a number of organisations including the National Association of Crime Scene Cleaners and SafeContractor. 

To find out more about our trauma cleaning services, contact our team on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk.


Melissa Harrison

Melissa Harrison

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