The death of a baby is life changing for families, and excellent care is crucial to their long term well-being.
We know front-line NHS workers in hospitals are under unimaginable pressure supporting bereaved families when a baby dies, in the very best way they can. This can be challenging for professionals who are also trying to manage their own emotions and may feel unprepared and daunted.
Jodie Barry is a midwife at University College London Hospital (UCLH) who has benefited from Sands training.
Keep reading to find out why she found it so helpful, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
"I attended Sands training 3 years ago and to this day I still appreciate what I learnt and how it helped me to help others. Midwifery is so often thought of such a happy career, full of joyous celebrations and new life.
"Unfortunately, as healthcare professionals we know that is not the truth. I completed the training while working on labour ward so immediately was able to put what I learnt to use, caring for parents of a stillborn baby, however I did not expect how relevant it would be to other areas of midwifery.
"I spent 6 months working in a fetal medicine unit, caring for those whose babies have been diagnosed with complex anomalies and genetic conditions. This exposed me a new kind of grief, the loss of hope, the loss of a life that could have been, the questioning of what if?
"It never occurred to me that these skills would someday be used outside of work. In the midst of the COVID 19 lockdown, a friend sadly lost one of her twins, her beautiful baby girl. While the world was locked up inside, they were locked up with grief and unable to seek the comfort of family and support groups. All I could do was send my support and offer my listening ear. I have reflected on these weeks and can say that it the training I completed all those years ago still benefits me, and I can only hope others.
"During the training day a bereaved parent came to talk to us about her experience. Within the hospital setting it is very difficult to assess how well we do and receive feedback. Parents are so often consumed with what’s happening they run on autopilot, an automatic thank you. Being able to ask this mother what she found positive, what she found unhelpful, what words were said, really helped me get a better understanding of what a newly bereaved parent is going through.
"I would highly recommend Sands training for healthcare professionals; it has proved invaluable to me not just professionally but personally in helping those around me."
Now more than ever Sands is here to support all staff working in the NHS. We are experts in supporting healthcare professionals to respond to, and cope with, bereavement, putting us in a unique position to help alleviate pressure on the NHS.
Find out more about Sands support, online resources and training that can help equip you with the confidence and skills to care for families when the worst happens.