The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust commends the newly-published Audit Of Bereavement Care Provision In UK Maternity Units and welcomes its recommendations. The Sands’ report provides an in-depth look at bereavement care provision offered in maternity units. It stresses that care given at this distressing time is crucial for parents’ physical and mental health in the short and long-term. The majority of the report is focused on care following stillborn or neonatal deaths, but it does consider bereavement support across all baby loss.
A key recommendation is that all bereaved parents – at any stage of gestation – should receive care from specialist bereavement support midwives who are trained to give emotional and practical support. Less than half the number of trusts or health bodies that responded to the audit said parents would be referred to bereavement support midwives at any or early gestations and a quarter would only refer after 16 weeks gestation. Sands say this opens up bereaved parents to a postcode lottery of care, which is unacceptable.
A recommendation is that all bereaved parents should have access to a good level of bereavement care at any gestation. The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust strongly supports this view. Losing a baby is physically and emotionally traumatic and everything should be done to make sure a woman and her family are as comfortable as possible and supported during this distressing time which will also go towards supporting mental health for the longer term.