What happens at a home collection?

Four minute read

The first time that a new client meets us can be in their own home, when we are collecting the person who has died and bringing them into our care. From that first moment, we want them to have a positive experience with Poppy’s.

For many people this is a situation they haven’t encountered before. They are tired and grieving and overwhelmed. They don’t know what will happen or what questions to ask.

That’s why we want to explain what you can expect from a Poppy’s collection.

Preparing for the collection

When we arrange the collection with you on the phone, we’ll ask a few simple, practical questions.

We’ll ask if the doctor has been to certify the death. We’ll check some details about the person, such as their size and whether they are infectious. We’ll also ask about access to the house or flat to make sure we bring the right equipment. And we’ll ask if there’s anything else you want us to know before we come.

Most collections involve two of our team. We’ll knock at your door and introduce ourselves. At this stage, we don’t bring any equipment. It’s important that you feel comfortable having us in your home and don’t feel under any pressure.

We’ll spend a few minutes getting our bearings and assessing the best way to move the person safely and smoothly. This will vary depending on whether or not there are stairs and on how much space to move around there is in the house or flat. We’ll explain what we’re doing at every step and make sure you are happy with the plans.

We’ll also ask if you want to be involved in the collection, for example by helping move the person, placing significant objects alongside them or walking next to the stretcher.

Some people want to be very hands-on, others will prefer us to take the lead. We will work with whatever approach you prefer, and support you to do what you would like to do. We will give you time to say goodbye in your own way.

Collecting someone safely and smoothly

Next, we’ll return to our van and bring the right stretcher and other equipment into the house. We’ll gently roll the person onto one side and place a sheet under them. Then onto their other side until they are fully wrapped. Next, we lift them onto the stretcher and make sure they are secure.

There are also a few practical details we take down. This includes a record of any clothing or jewellery that the person is wearing when they come into our care or, if you want to remove and keep these, we allow time for that too.

It’s a legal requirement that a dead body is covered when out in the street, so we will always cover the person just before leaving.

Once we have brought the person to our mortuary, which is next to our HQ in Lambeth cemetery, you can organise a time to come and spend time with them.

“She looked so peaceful”

Rainer, one of our team, explains what this looked like in practice during a recent collection.

“A lady answered the door to us, but we could see that there were lots of people in the house behind her. We spoke with her on the doorstep and it was clear the family were still in the process of saying goodbye to the person who had died. We didn’t go in at that point. Instead, we offered to wait in our van until they were ready for us and a few minutes later they invited us into the house.

“After seeing a pile of shoes by the door, we took off our shoes too. It felt like the right thing to do. Upstairs, we assessed the space available and saw the person. She looked so peaceful.

“When we returned with the stretcher, one family member was still with her, saying goodbye. We waited until they had finished and were ready for us before going any further. Finally, two family members helped us move the person onto the stretcher.

The ethos behind our collections

“The ethos behind how we do collections is the same as the ethos behind how we do everything at Poppy’s. We’re there, as people, to help other people at a difficult time. Everything we do is transparent, and we’re flexible in responding to what people need to help manage this transition. I really believe a collection like this can be a good experience for everyone.

“We’re coming into your home when we do a collection, so don’t be afraid to tell us what we should do, just as you would any other visitor to your household.”

Contact us

Our collections team are available seven days a week, between 8am and 8pm on 020 3589 4726.

If you are calling after 8pm, please leave your name, number and any info you feel we should know. We will call you back in the morning to arrange bringing the person who has died into our care.

You may find this information about how to care for someone who has died at home helpful in the meantime.

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