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Bereavement Care during the COVID-19 Outbreak 

Updated 20th April 2020:

*update 20/4 to include bereavement care leaflet*

The NBCP is designed to ensure that all bereaved families have access to high quality, sensitive and family-centred care, regardless of circumstance, gestation or postcode. The response to COVID-19 is having an impact on bereavement care across the UK. 

Social distancing, restricted NHS resources and potential staff redeployment are having varying degrees of impact on the ability of Trusts and Boards to deliver the nine bereavement care standards. We expect that bereavement care in maternity and neonatal services will vary over coming months. 

The Core Group is fully behind the NHS and its dedicated staff.  We also know from listening to parents that core elements of bereavement care can be maintained when a baby dies during the COVID-19 pandemic.  We recognise that some Trusts may need to adopt a more streamlined approach to the delivery of bereavement care taking into account the current constraints in the NHS. 

The minimum level of bereavement care families need is:

  1. 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
  1. Excellent communication
  • Empathetic communication
  • 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
  1. Trained and supported staff
  • NBCP materials and Sands learning resources shared with  staff
  • Psychological support for staff

All our core group partners have information on their web pages relating to the availability of their services and support for families during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sands has created a guide for bereaved parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, which 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 

A simple guide to sensitive communication for healthcare professionals is available here and guidance on compassionate communication while wearing PPE is here.