Death and Dying Information for Healthcare Providers

Pronouncement of Death

Rhode Island law requires physicians, as defined by the Rules and Regulations Governing Vital Records, to sign death certificates, but it is silent on the issue of pronouncement of death. Therefore, it is the policy of the Department of Health that, with respect to the expected death of a person who is receiving nursing services in the home and for whom the attending physician has included documentation of such expected death in the patient’s medical record, a registered nurse may pronounce death (i.e., determine biological death), but must then notify the attending physician forthwith.

Death Records

The Office of Vital Records maintains death records for Rhode Island residents and for deaths occurring in Rhode Island. Basic demographics are collected and underlying causes of death are recorded using ICD10 codes.