COVID-19: babies need their loved ones by their side at the end of life

Posted on April 02, 2020

Bliss supports call from the RCPCH to ensure children who die have their parents and loved ones with them wherever possible.

Over the last few weeks, neonatal and paediatric units have been restricting parents' access due to COVID-19.

These are difficult decisions that no service wants to make, and these changes are being made to ensure vulnerable babies and children are kept safe.

However, current guidance is open to interpretation and, following on from a tragic case widely reported in the media, the RCPCH has today issued a statement clarifying that every effort must be made to ensure children who die have their parents and loved ones with them wherever possible.

Caroline Leed-Davey, Chief Executive at Bliss said: "The devastating reality of neonatal care is that not every baby born premature or sick will go home. Nothing can lessen the pain of a baby dying, but we know that excellent end of life and bereavement care makes an enormous difference to families.

"Bliss welcomes RCPCH's statement, which sets out that wherever possible health services should ensure children who die are able to be with their loved ones. The unprecedented COVID-19 situation means neonatal services across the UK are having to make difficult decisions about access for parents to ensure vulnerable babies are kept safe - but no parent should be denied time with their baby during the last hours of their life.

"Babies who receive palliative and end of life care over the coming weeks and months must still be able to have their parents by their side. Services should ensure both parents can be involved, and receive support, in line with the standards set out in the National Bereavement Care Pathway."