10 Things You Need to Know About Dying in Colorado

Over the years, people have continually asked me for advice about making their end of life arrangements. It seems that this is information that people don’t realize they need, until they need it, and then, it can be difficult to find.

Sometimes, people will rely on secondhand information from family or friends -- who may be living in different States. The problem with this is that every state has different laws and regulations. So, what may be perfectly acceptable in one State, could get you into serious trouble in Colorado.

Here is a list of the top 10 things you need to know about dying in colorado.

1. If a death occurs at home and hospice is not involved it is responded to as a 911 call with police, fire department, and ambulance services, which includes attempt to revive the patient.

2. Everyone needs to speak with an attorney about their end of life wishes.

3. Financial issues need to be discussed two-fold. Money needed during the illness, and money needed after the death occurs.

4. The Colorado Organ Donor Registry states that, “Being on the Colorado Organ and Tissue Donor registry means that you have elected to have all of your organs and tissues made available for transplant at the time of your death.”

5. Determination of whether or not a body can be accepted for donation can only be made after the death has occurred.

6. Colorado is the only state in the country that does not require licensure of funeral service professionals.

7. Write down both “I want…” and “I don’t want…” statements when making end of life decisions.

8. Death Certificates are $17 for the first copy and $10 for each additional copy requested at the same time.

9. It is not important how you grieve, what is important is that you grieve.

10. Accept help from others.

Each of these subjects are covered in more detail in End of Life Insights: Colorado, the handbook for end of life care in Colorado.

4 Steps to Selecting a Funeral Home After an Unexpected Death

How do you select a funeral home after the sudden loss of your loved one?

The most important piece of information you need to know is that although decisions regarding funeral home selection need to be made quickly, they do not need to be made immediately.

Do not feel pressured to make this important decision before you have all of the information you need!

Over the years, I’ve developed a simple checklist to help in the funeral home selection process:

1. Ask a friend to research funeral homes for you. Many people will be asking you, “If there’s anything I can do to help please tell me.” Well, this task is something practical -- and necessary -- that a friend or other family member can help you with.

2. Contact the clergy member or celebrant who will be officiating the service, and ask if there is a funeral home that he or she can recommend. This person have years of experience with the funeral homes in your area. He or she also knows your personal situation, and can almost certainly help steer you in the right direction.

3. The coroner’s office or hospital may provide you with a list of funeral homes in the area. Funeral homes are something no one pays attention to, until you need one. So it’s quite possible that you may not know all your options. Make sure you have the most up to date information before starting your search. You could end up saving yourself a lot of time and stress, and maybe even a lot of money.

4. If the funeral or burial will be taking place in another State, choose the funeral home in the State where your loved one will be laid to rest. This can be a complicated process, however, you needn’t be burdened by it. You have enough to deal with already. The funeral director in that State will make the necessary arrangements with a the funeral home where the death has occurred.

Martha L. Thayer - Founder of End of Life Insights

As a funeral director and college instructor earning continuing education credit each year to maintain my certification, I can honestly write that I have been through some horribly long presentations, while listening to boring speakers trying to educate me on irrelevant topics. Thankfully though, I have also listened to dynamic speakers, with fascinating topics, all the while wishing I could get just another hour or two of information on the topic.

The educational units at End of Life Insights are designed to be dynamic, timely, and cover a multitude of topics. You won’t be selecting from the typical OSHA and government regulated issues which everyone offers, or be forced to participate in re-writes of topics you already studied of college. Instead you’ll be going on a virtual visit of the Imperial Tombs of China, may watch a funeral pyre on the Ganges River, or learn about the ancient Mayan afterlife, where the cause of death determined where the soul would reside for eternity. We will also timely topics like mentoring employees to increase retention in high burn out death related fields, and the real risk to those handling radioactive human remains.

I look forward to learning with you, and from you.