12 #MatExpAdvent -ures
I'm so lucky to work in maternity it's such a happy cheerful specialty after all, joyous & rewarding isn't it! Except when it isn't ....when there is the most heart stopping silence
So sad & shocking and yet hardly talked about
Obviously work is underway to try & reduce the numbers with initiatives such as @EachBabyCounts & @SignUpToSafety but I want to focus on a different aspect ....
I think it's a taboo area....... that of bereavement in maternity care & it's not just health professionals who struggle to say & do the right thing it seems like society has a problem too, women tell me of problems with family & friends in their everyday lives.
Conventional 'patient experience surveys ' exclude bereaved families in an attempt to be sensitive , We were so fortunate that a bereaved mother shared her story at the second #MatExp workshop at Lewisham. These are some of the most vulnerable distressed families in our communities how can we improve things if we don't even include them in asking the question.
So what can we do?
Kindness & compassion will certainly help 💜 Here are a few more simple improvement ideas
These bereavement cards are already helping parents & healthcare professionals too @LeighaKendall #Hugoslegacy
#saytheirname is a simple campaign anyone can take part in, remember you are not reminding parents their baby has died but are acknowledging their existence
@Edspire inspires in #FlamingJune thinking about how to support siblings
& what about those not even counted in the numbers babies lost earlier in pregnancy & the heartbreak this brings. @PinksNBlues have been trying to raise awareness & support these families
There are gaps in care elsewhere too . Some families struggling with bereavement as a consequence of antenatal screening have been excluded from support groups as they have had a termination of pregnancy. @ARCantenatal provide information for both parents & professionals.
We are so fortunate to have a new bereavement room for families through @SandsUK but not all maternity units are so lucky. @ben4ipswich has recently started a campaign to get a similar rooms nationwide
Getting experience right at such a devastating time is crucial to those precious memories as an amazing film by @AbigailsCharity shows
Click here to watch the film
So in 2016 'Nobody's Patient' #MatExp project was born
Working with Catherine @thepinksnblues to highlight care of those families who lose their baby in the second trimester has been fantastic
Our new material really opened up conversations & helped bereaved families talk about their care at such a difficult time whether their baby died during pregnancy or in the early hours or days of life
Are we getting somewhere with awareness?
Fantastic to hear Antoinette Sandbach MP at #HopeDec09 House of Commons talk of her experience of her son's death & how she is working hard to improve things for bereaved parents
2017 has brought even more focus on bereavement in maternity care with a survey from sands uk
So many bereaved parents want to give feedback on their care
June 2017 saw the launch of a tool that will help us collect feedback at such a sensitive time
We were delighted to be invited to share Nobody’s patient at the Sands Bliss RCM conference in September
Improving safety in maternity is receiving high profile attention with significant ambition to reduce the number of babies that die and to properly learn from those that sadly do
There have been some fab initiatives to help us find out more here
Each baby counts made an excellent video to help us think about situational awareness on the labour ward watch it here
So bereavement in maternity care has come a long way in the last couple of years & there is plenty more to do in the years ahead Think what are the little things you can do that make a difference to families at such a troubled time that mean they have some positive memories to look back on, Could you use the feedback tool? Do you have a bereavement room on your maternity unit? What about women in the second trimester what do you do to care for them!
Babies will always be in our hearts never forgotten
Sleep in heavenly peace