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National Bereavement Care Pathway helps improve care received by bereaved parents

13th May 2019

A project to improve the quality of care that bereaved families receive when they experience pregnancy or baby loss has been found to be making a big difference, and should be rolled out nationally, a new study has found.

To ensure bereaved parents and their families are supported in the best way possible, the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) was launched in 2017 and has been piloted in 32 NHS Trusts in England.

Independent research analysed the experiences of parents and healthcare professionals who have been involved with the Pathway. The results have revealed high levels of satisfaction with parents saying that the hospital was a caring and supportive environment (84 per cent), they were treated with respect (92 per cent) and many feel the decisions they made in the hospital were the right ones at the time.

Surveys completed by 1,762 health care professionals revealed the Pathway has improved staff capability and bereavement care practice amongst teams, with health care professionals saying they now have consistent and clear guidelines which support them to provide good quality care for bereaved parents.

Clea Harmer, Chief Executive at Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity) which leads on the NBCP, said: “Parents who receive poor care can exacerbate the grief they feel, but good care can and does help them on their painful journey.  That’s why the NBCP is so important because every parent equally deserves excellent bereavement care. It’s the very least we can do for them.”

Ruth Bender-Atik, National Director of the Miscarriage Association, said: “The Miscarriage Association is delighted that the independent evaluation has demonstrated that implementing the NBCP has led to improvements in bereavement care for those affected by loss. We are particularly pleased that there is positive feedback regarding the care provided for those bereaved through early losses and we join our partners in calling for a national roll-out of the NBCP.”

NHS Trusts are being encouraged to take up the NBCP as part of the collaboration’s roll out plans. Further information regarding these standards, how to register with the pathway and other details can be found at www.nbcpathway.org.uk

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