For parents, the care they receive in hospital is the beginning of a very tough journey, one which they will never forget, so it’s important to provide excellent care for the future health and happiness of the whole family. Good care can’t reduce the pain, but poor care can increase it. Parents take home their memories including the way they were cared for and the staff who cared for them. Good bereavement care makes all the difference at such a difficult time.
Parents will need a lot of time to take in what has happened and digest all the information and choices they will be presented with. They may need to ask questions more than once so your time to explain the same things over and over will be extremely valuable to them. They will also need as much time as possible to spend with their baby and to say goodbye. They are entitled to take their baby home or to a special place if they wish. Ask your head of midwifery whether your hospital has access to a cold cot to enable parents to keep their baby cool. If not, you can contact your local Sands group to inquire whether they are in a position to provide your trust with one.
No healthcare professional wants to have to give the heart breaking news to parents that their longed for baby has passed away. It’s a very emotional and difficult task to care for bereaved mums and offer support at the same time. There needs to be recognition of the impact this has on staff and support and counselling should be made available. It’s good practice to ensure vital support systems are in place for all staff to access and time should be made available for all midwives and obstetric consultants to attend recognised training programme’s such as Sands.
Thank you for all that you do to care for bereaved parents during such tragic circumstances.
You may also find our other pages covering different aspects of bereavement care helpful: