Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018

Care for bereaved parents can and must improve say baby loss charities

More than 60 charities, who are working to prevent baby deaths and pregnancy loss and to support families, are today (9 October 2018) 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). During this week 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).

This is a partnership between government, charities, and the NHS, and sets out the standards for providing excellent care to anyone affected by pregnancy and baby loss.

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.”

NBCP trial period saw improved bereavement care

An evaluation of eleven NBCP pilot sites in England found that more than three quarters of healthcare professionals who were aware of the Pathway said that bereavement care had improved in their trust during the trial period.

This ground-breaking programme is being made publicly available for the first time.

The Scottish government has also pledged funding and support over the next two years, with a plan to pilot, implement and embed the Pathway across Scotland.

Bereavement care offered to parents was “inconsistent”

An Audit of bereavement care provision in UK maternity units found that the bereavement care offered to parents was inconsistent and dependant on where parents live, at what stage of pregnancy or birth their loss occurs, and whether individual healthcare professionals are equipped to respond.

Dr Clea Harmer said:

“Good bereavement care is rooted in simple acts of kindness and respect, giving a family whose world has fallen apart the time they need with their baby, and minimising anything that could add to their suffering.

“It cannot remove parents’ pain and grief, but it can help them through this devastating time. In contrast, poor care can significantly add to a family’s distress.”

The NBCP standards include:

  • All bereaved parents given opportunities to 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

 

UK buildings will be lit up pink and blue

Throughout the Week, landmark buildings across the UK will be lit up pink and blue – the colours of Baby Loss Awareness Week.

The Week culminates in a global #WaveOfLight at 7pm on 15 October when candles will be lit across the world to remember all those babies who have died.

Anyone can join a digital Wave of Light from 7pm on 15 October by posting a photo of their candle to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #WaveOfLight.

Cranfield Cemetery’s lost baby memorial

As part of #WaveOfLight, at 19:00 on 15 October, a candle will be lit at the new lost baby memorial in Cranfield Cemetery. It is not a formal ceremony.

For further information on Baby Loss Awareness Week 2018 visit babyloss-awareness.org and follow #BLAW2018 on social media.