Health Minister Jim Wells, has launched the new Regional Bereavement Careplan for parents and families who experience miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, today in Parliament Buildings.
This new Careplan, replaces the 2006 Bereavement Careplan, and consists of regional guidance and seven care pathways, each related to when the pregnancy or infant loss occurs. The aim is for these to support staff to deliver a person-centred, high quality, consistent approach to care of women and their families at this very difficult time.
The Minister said: “Sadly, while the vast majority of pregnancies and births are straightforward, the fact remains that sometimes events unfold that mean the loss of a beloved baby. Each of these lives has incalculable value. Each loss leaves behind grieving families and friends, therefore compassionate, effective support frameworks should be in place to help them.”
The Minister went on to acknowledge that, while the standard of pregnancy and neonatal care in Northern Ireland is high, there is always room for improvement, particularly as the profile of expectant mothers changes and advances in technology have improved life expectancy of vulnerable babies.
The Minister concluded by adding: “I feel strongly that the Health and Social Care sector should do its utmost to support and help all those in this situation, and I am confident that the implementation of this new bereavement pathway will go a long way to improve the experiences of everyone affected by the death of a baby, whether this happens early on in the pregnancy around the time of birth, or in the early days of his or her life.”
The launch was attended by MLAs, representatives from across the HSC, members of the bereavement steering group, bereaved parents and families, representatives from SANDS, Tiny Life, Life after Loss, the “Forget Me Not” group, and other bereaved parents’ support groups.