Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018: Care for bereaved parents must improve say baby charities

Posted on October 09, 2018

Bliss and a coalition of more than 60 charities working to prevent baby deaths and pregnancy loss is today urging all NHS Trusts and Boards across the UK to improve bereavement care for parents.

The call comes at the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018 (9-15 October) when bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite across the world to commemorate their babies’ lives.

Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018 also marks the roll-out of the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP), a partnership between government, charities, and the NHS, that sets out the standards for providing excellent care to anyone affected by pregnancy and baby loss.

This ground-breaking healthcare programme is being made publicly available for the first time and is set to transform bereavement care for thousands of families each year across the UK.

For many years, the care offered to parents in hospital has remained worryingly inconsistent and dependant on where parents live, at what stage of pregnancy or birth their loss occurs, and whether individual healthcare professionals know how to respond.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss said: “Losing a baby is the most devastating event that can happen to any parent. It is therefore vital that parents have all the help and support they need if they experience such a tragic loss. The roll-out of the National Bereavement Care Pathway is an important step towards ensuring that parents are supported in their grief and that healthcare professionals feel properly equipped in caring for families.”

Dr Clea Harmer, Chief Executive of Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said: “Bereavement care for anyone who has suffered a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, or the death of a baby must get better and we believe we have the solution. The roll-out of the National Bereavement Care Pathway for pregnancy and baby loss is a crucial step towards ensuring that all health professionals in the UK can provide excellent bereavement care. I urge all NHS Trusts and Health Boards to adopt the Pathway and ensure care around baby loss is offered in line with these standards.

The NBCP standards include:

  • All bereaved parents given opportunities to take photos, create hand and footprints, and spend time making memories with their precious babies
  • A dedicated bereavement room available and accessible in every hospital
  • Bereavement care training for ALL staff who have contact with grieving parents
  • Support for healthcare staff dealing with the trauma of baby loss so that they are able to care for bereaved parents

For further information on Baby Loss Awareness Week 2017 visit: www.babyloss-awareness.org and follow #BLAW2018 on social media.