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National Bereavement Care Pathway helps improve care received by parents

14th May 2019

A project to improve the quality of care that bereaved families receive when their baby dies 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. The NBCP helps professionals to provide families with a greater consistency and quality of bereavement care after pregnancy or baby loss.

Independent research previously highlighted improvements made in the 11 Wave one sites when it reported its findings in October 2018. The final report relating to 21 Wave two sites published May 2019 analyses the experiences of bereavement care from parents and healthcare professionals.

The results have revealed high levels of satisfaction with the bereavement care they received when their baby died. Parents also said the hospital was a caring and supportive environment, they were treated with respect and many feel the decisions they made in the hospital were the right ones at the time.

Collaborators in the project, including the Institute of health Visiting, are calling on NHS Trusts to adopt the National Bereavement Care Pathway and adhere to nine specific bereavement care standards.

Since the Pathway was introduced, more health care professionals feel they now have consistent and clear guidelines which support them to provide good quality care for bereaved parents. The Pathway has improved the dialogue between hospital departments which has helped professionals to deliver care more consistently.

NHS Trusts are being encouraged to take up the NBCP as part of the collaboration’s roll out plans. A number have already taken part in local workshops to identify gaps in local practice and to develop plans to improve bereavement care, based on the 9 bereavement care standards promoted by the group.

Further information regarding these standards, how to register with the pathway and other details can be found at

The National Bereavement Care Pathway is being led by: Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), Bliss, The Lullaby Trust, The Miscarriage Association, ARC (Antenatal Results & Choices), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of General Practitioners, Neonatal Nurses Association, Institute of Health Visiting, NHS England.

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