Following Sands’ successful participation at the International Stillbirth Alliance (ISA) Conference in the West Indies in 2011, Sands was invited back to Antigua this November to deliver a bespoke training workshop to representatives from different Caribbean islands.

A 2 day Bereavement Support and Maternity Care workshop was run by Sue Hale, Sands Group Development Manager, alongside Dr Alex Heazell, Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics at Manchester University, and British midwife Caron Millard, who lived and worked in Antigua for a number of years.

The workshop was attended by midwives and neonatal nurses from all over the West Indies and covered a wide range of issues relating to prevention and bereavement care. Working closely together, Sands was able to understand the challenges facing delegates and what was important to them and tailored the workshop accordingly.

Workshop topics included: how to improve antenatal care and detect problems; listening skills and helping parents create memories; how to cope with the impact of the death of a baby on staff; setting up parent support groups; how to investigate and learn from a baby’s death; and how to help families in the longer term with their return home and possible subsequent pregnancies.

"Everyone who attended the workshop is instrumental in changing practice in their units. Some of the Caribbean islands are quite small, and it is encouraging to think of the direct positive impact our training might have, particularly on the experience of those parents whose baby dies at, or around the time of, birth," commented Sue Hales, Sands Group Development Manager.

The Sands team will continue to stay in touch with the delegates and report back key developments but one of the most exciting things to have come out of the workshop already is the start of a Caribbean network. Using a closed group on Facebook, a new community has been created to enable the delegates and their colleagues to share information and best practice as well as offer each other support and guidance.

The Bereavement Support and Maternity Care workshop was funded jointly by the ISA and Sands Antigua & Barbuda.