High quality, sensitive, family centred care is vital when a baby dies however; we understand that current circumstances mean there are changes to how care is provided, so we are very grateful for the dedication and hard work shown by professionals across the country.
As Stephanie Fretter, Bereavement Midwife at Kettering General Hospital says:
“We are unable to offer the usual level of bereavement care and support but we continue to do the very best we can for our families”.
During the pandemic Sands is working closely with the NHS and professional bodies to monitor the impact of COVID19 on bereavement care. In response to our feedback the Royal College of Midwives have published a Clinical guidance briefing: Maternity bereavement care during Covid-19. Over the coming months we will be working with the NHS and relevant professional bodies to ensure that bereavement services are fully reinstated as COVID19 infection rates begin to fall.
We fully support the NHS and its dedicated staff. We also know from listening to parents that the core elements of bereavement care must be maintained when a baby dies during the COVID-19 pandemic and these are:
- Compassionate care
- A supportive family-centred approach
- Acknowledgement of their loss and of individual responses to grief and trauma
- Recognition of parenthood and the opportunity to make memories with their baby
- Empathetic communication
- Communications while wearing PPE
- Informed choice about birth options and options after death
- A robust review using the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool and with parental engagement
- Signposting on to physical, practical and psychological support
- Trained and supported staff
- NBCP materials and Sands learning resources shared with staff
- Psychological support for staff
To support the NHS during these very challenging times Sands has made available the following resources:
Sands professionals e-bulletin & twitter account
Our professionals e-bulletin and twitter account are aimed at those working directly with families when a baby dies, and those with an interest in research, education, or policy in the field.
Follow us on twitter @SandsInsights
Our face-to-face training is postponed, however we have adapted our training into a virtual format and from May onwards Sands will host a series of free webinars focusing on how best to support parents and families when a baby dies, particularly during COVID restrictions
Guide for bereaved parents during the COVID-19 pandemic
This guide includes support information and guidance on new procedures involved in the registration of birth, stillbirth, death and funeral arrangements. The guide can be accessed here.
Bereavement Support app
The Sands app helps bereaved families find the right information and support at the right time. The app can also be used by healthcare professionals, who would like to know how best to support bereaved parents and their families. The app now includes the guide for parents during the COVID-19 outbreak and can be downloaded here.
National Bereavement Care Pathway Materials
NBCP materials provide specific guidance for anyone working with families experiencing Miscarriage, Termination of Pregnancy due to Fetal Anomaly, Stillbirth, Neonatal Death and Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infancy.
NBCP E-learning: nbcpathway.org.uk/professionals/training-healthcare-professionals
The NBCP E-Learning module is hosted by NHS Health Education England. E-learning for Scotland will be developed, in the meantime staff working in all nations can access the England modules by registering with NHS Health Education England using their NHS work email.
Sands Memory Boxes
Sands support services
The team at Sands are working hard to support bereaved parents and health care staff through this challenging time. Sands Helpline is available for anyone who needs emotional support or practical guidance on how to provide bereavement care during the COVID19 outbreak:
Freephone helpline: 0808 164 3332
Email helpline: email@example.com