Where to Begin

Where to Begin

When a death occurs, every situation is going to require a different response.  And, your ability to react is going to be different than everyone else. That being said, it is normal to be in an agitated or emotional state. If you are unable to think clearly, please seek out the assistance of others.

At Home Without Hospice or Nursing Care

When a death occurs at home in an immediate, unexpected, or unsupported situation, please contact or have a family member contact emergency personnel immediately by calling 911.  If you call the funeral home, we are required to have you contact emergency services prior to us bringing your loved one into our care.  Once emergency personnel have performed their necessary functions, they will contact the coroner who will in turn contact the funeral home.

If you are unsure of who to notify or what to do, you may call Olson Funeral and Cremation Services at 815-963-6521, and we'll assist you in notifying the proper emergency responders.

While Under Skilled Nursing or Hospice Care

When a death occurs in a nursing home, hospital or under hospice care, you will be notified by phone if you are not present. In most cases, the name of the funeral home has been left with the hospital, nursing home, or hospice agency. The funeral home will be notified at the time of death, however, in most cases, your loved one will not be released into our care until contact with you has been made by the care giving agency. In most cases, our response time is less than one hour. A licensed Funeral Director will be available to answer any questions that you may have or to give you the additional direction that you may need.  If the death occurs in the night and you are not present when our staff arrives, you will receive a phone call from the funeral home the following morning.  We do not want to become an additional burden to what may be your busy phone lines or your need for sleep. Please know that we understand and encourage you to be there when our staff arrives, however, if the deceased is under skilled care and a staff person is present from that agency, you do not need to wait for our arrival. You may contact the funeral home at any time so you have the reassurance that we have been notified. 

Into Our Care

We will bring the deceased "into our care" at no obligation to the family.  We simply ask that they take the time to talk to us to explore the options. If you decide to use a different, local funeral home's services, we will bring your loved one to their facility and you will only be responsible for paying Olson's what that funeral home would have charged for the transfer into their care. 

Setting an Arrangement Appointment

If you are present when your loved one is transferred into our care, the funeral director on site may wish to schedule an appointment with you.  It is important for you to understand that this does not have to happen immediately or even in the next 24 hours.  We understand that circumstances may affect your ability to plan funeral, burial, cremation, or transportation needs. If the situation requires it, we are more than able to make arrangements in the comfort of your own home.  Additionally, we can make arrangements over the phone and via email when the need arises.

The funeral director on site will ask whether pre-arrangement plans are in place and whether our normal embalming procedures will be necessary.  You will be given a list of items to bring with you regarding your loved one to your arrangement conference.  These items include but are not limited to: 

  • Recent photo
  • Glasses
  • Dentures
  • Suit, dress, shoes, pants, shirt & tie and underclothing
  • Officiant's Name
  • Cemetery deeds 
  • Veteran's Discharge Papers - DD214
  • Social Security Number
  • Birhplace of Deceased
  • Fathers's Name
  • Mother's Maiden Name
  • Insurance Policies
  • Occupation
  • Highest Level of Education


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