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The Irish Hospice Foundation welcomes development of national standards for bereavement care following pregnancy loss & perinatal death

Posted on: July 17th, 2015

The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) has welcomed the launch of the HSE’s public consultation process on the ‘Bereavement Care Standards following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death’, and is encouraging families affected by such difficult loss to help shape the standard of future bereavement care available to families across Ireland.

The consultation process is open until September 11th and once completed and agreed the new standards will be implemented and applied across the health service in all appropriate hospitals and settings.

Orla Keegan, Head of Education, Research and Bereavement Services at the Irish Hospice Foundation said, “The Irish Hospice Foundation’s vision is that no one should face death or bereavement without the care and support they need. In Ireland approximately 14,000 women experience a miscarriage annually. We also know that each year families throughout Ireland experience the heartbreak of losing their baby around the time of birth. The loss of a baby is an extremely difficult time and it’s important that the bereaved parents and families are appropriately supported in their grief, from when the news is first broken, to the weeks and months and unfolding time following the death of their child.”

“While examples of good practice can be seen throughout the country the Standards will help ensure equity of service, so that all families in Ireland who experience pregnancy loss or perinatal death can expect to receive the best possible care regardless of where they live. We are encouraging families who have been affected by such sad losses, and indeed professionals working in the area, to play a role in shaping the standards of care for other families into the future by commenting on this draft document.”

The Bereavement Care Standards have been informed and developed by a team composed of people working in obstetrics, midwifery, nursing, psychiatry, paediatrics, education, social work, chaplaincy, ultrasonography, health service administration and the Irish Hospice Foundation.

The Irish Hospice Foundation’s mission is to achieve dignity, comfort and choice for all people facing the end of life. A core aspect of this work involves supporting hospital staff to improve bereavement care for families.

The IHF hosts the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Maternity and Neonatal Network. The aim of this network is to share information and advocate for improvements in end-of-life care and bereavement services. All maternity hospitals and maternity units in Ireland are part of this network.

The IHF also runs a Bereavement and Education Resource Centre, equipping professionals with the skills to help them work with bereaved people.

You can review the draft standards and provide written feedback online at http://www.hse.ie/eng/about/Who/acute/bereavementcare/bereavementcare.html

The HSE will also be hosting public forums across the country throughout September.

For more information on the IHF Maternity and Neonatal Network: http://hospicefoundation.ie/healthcare-programmes/hospice-friendly-hospitals/initiatives-staff-development/hfh-networks/maternity-neonatal-network/

To visit the IHF’s dedicated bereavement website:  www.bereaved.ie