Confirmation or verification of death is defined as deciding whether a person is actually deceased. Confirmation or verification of death can be undertaken by a registered nurse, however you must check your employer's policies to determine local agreements about the circumstances in which this can be done. Certification of death requires a registered medical practitioner.
Please read Care After Death: Registered Nurse Verification of Expected Adult Death (RNVoEAD) guidance (3rd Edition, November 2019) from the Hospice UK website for more detail.
For specific information on Covid-19, please also see COVID-19 guidance on DNACPR and verification of death.
Within prisons registered nurses do not currently verify death. All prison deaths in England, Wales and Northern Ireland currently are subject to an inquest (whether the deceased died of natural causes or not) and are therefore reportable to the Coroner at this time. This issue is being looked at within the NHS England Health and Justice team to potentially revise the wording within the legal requirements and will be the result of discussions with the Chief Coroner.
In Scotland deaths in legal custody must be reported to the Procurator Fiscal for a mandatory Fatal Accident Inquiry.