Did you miss yesterday’s iHV Insights webinar on “Bereavement, the NBCP & Health Visiting” that was held yesterday (25 February 2021)? As an iHV member you can catch up on the event by accessing the resources on our website.

Yesterday, we were joined by a fabulous panel of experts who were able to provide an update on the evidence and lots of helpful tips on supporting families experiencing bereavement and information on the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP).

Our expert panel of speakers:

  • Marc Harder, Project Lead, National Bereavement Care Pathway Sands
  • Clare Worgan, Training & Learning Resources Manager Sands
  • Jo Carroll, HV & National Lead, CONI Programme Lullaby Trust

The great news is that all the iHV Insights webinars are available for iHV members to access as a free member benefit after the event.

Click here to catch up on our highly popular member only iHV Insights sessions so far – remember to login to the website to access them!


Bookings open for next iHV Insights


Bookings are now open for our next iHV Insights: “Working with children with autism – resources to support your practice“, taking place on Thursday 18 March 15:30 to 16:30.

We will announce our panel of expert speakers soon.

If you are not an iHV member, join us today to book your place at these highly popular events and gain access to these and many other resources, as well as many other member benefits.

Our highly popular iHV Insights webinar programme continues with our next event for iHV members taking place on Thursday 25 February 2021, 3:30 to 4:30pm.

This will cover the topic of: “Child bereavement, the NBCP & Health Visiting”.

This iHV Insights will focus on the health visiting skills and role to support baby loss and child bereavement in families. iHV is pleased to be one of the partners on the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) programme.

We are delighted to be joined by:

  • Marc Harder – Project Lead, Sands – Using the NBCP in HV practice
  • Clare Worgan – Training & Learning Resources Manager – Sands
  • Jo Carroll – HV & National Lead, CONI Programme – Lullaby Trust
  • Both Clare and Jo  will share perspectives on the skills needed to support bereaved parents in practice

The webinar will also be recorded and will be available to iHV members on our website after the event, together with a FAQ sheet should we have a high number of questions.

Please join us.

How to book for iHV members

Go to our EventBrite booking page and please use your iHV membership number as your access code. If you have any problems or enquiries please email [email protected] and we will be happy to help.

Once you have submitted your details, you will be able to select your ticket and proceed to checkout – please note that this webinar is free to iHV members.

Not an iHV member?

Previous iHV Insights

The great news is that all the iHV Insights webinars are available for iHV members to access as a free member benefit after the event, as well as joining the live session. As a member you can access all of our previous iHV Insights webinars with their supported resources that includes topics on: managing childhood illnesses; domestic violence and abuse; health visiting during a pandemic; and improving support for children with parents who are dependent on alcohol.

Click here and login to catch up on our previous iHV Insights.



iHV launches a series of six new Good Practice Points (GPPs) for health visitors on loss, bereavement and supporting families with grief during National Grief Awareness Week (#NGAW20):

GPP – Supporting families experiencing pregnancy loss or the death of an unborn baby

  • This GPP covers miscarriage, ectopic and molar pregnancy, termination of pregnancy for foetal anomaly and multifoetal pregnancy reduction (ToPFA) to align with 2 of the 5 pathways in NBCP. This GPP aims to support informed high quality care once a pregnancy loss has already occurred.

GPP – Supporting families following the death of a baby

  • The death of a baby is one of the most traumatic and distressing experiences and will inevitably bring about immense pain and grief. Health visitors are an important source of ongoing care and skilled support for bereaved parents in the weeks, months and years following this most tragic and traumatic of experiences.  This GPP considers Stillbirth, Neonatal Loss and Sudden Unexplained Death of an Infant (SUDI).

GPP – Supporting families following the death of an infant or child (aged 1 to 4 years)

  • The agony of losing a child of any age is unparalleled. There is no age or point in time that makes it any easier. The death of a child goes against the natural order we expect life to follow. The longing for the child and the feeling of emptiness can last a lifetime. This GPP considers the support families can benefit from when they lose an infant or child and the processes and issues pertinent for families experiencing such loss.

GPP – Supporting young children who have lost a parent

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated that 1% of children are likely to experience the death of their mother before they reach their 16th birthday. In England and Wales it is estimated that, each year, 7000 children will lose their mother before they reach 16-years old. Within this GPP, we consider how to support young children who have lost a parent or primary carer.

GPP – Supporting a parent when their partner dies

  • Losing a partner is devastating at any time in life, however the complexity and additional losses that are felt when you have young children can be especially difficult to endure. This can include losing the father or mother of your child, coping with your children’s grief and the pressures of parenting alone; and, combined with financial insecurity, this can be overwhelming. Within this GPP, we consider how to support a parent who has lost their partner following suicide or death whilst parenting a baby or young infant.

GPP – Supporting parents whose own parent (or early attachment figure) has died

  • Coping with the death of a parent or primary attachment figure is one of the most traumatic and distressing experiences we all face and will inevitably bring about immense pain and grief. Within this GPP, we consider how to support parents who have lost their own parent (or someone with whom they formed their primary attachment relationship with early in life) during the perinatal period and early years as a parent.

Please note that these GPPs are available to iHV members only.

If you’re not a member, please join us to get access to all of our resources.

The iHV is a self-funding charity – we can only be successful in our mission to strengthen health visiting practice if the health visiting profession and its supporters join us on our journey. We rely on our membership to develop new resources for our members.

So do join us now!

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The Institute is pleased to participate in and support National Grief Awareness Week (#NGAW20) which runs 2-8 December 2020.

Many of us have been affected by loss of a loved one this year and will recognise the importance of the key messages being shared during this awareness week. Isolation and social distancing makes grief so much more complicated but it shouldn’t limit the support being offered. Health visitors have the skills to help parents they work with to navigate their loss and can be a really important part of the support system if they put themselves in the right place at the right time. It can be difficult to find the right words, but we are offering the following to inspire confidence for practitioners.

Good Practice Points

During #NGAW20 we will be publishing a suite of five new Good Practice Points (GPPs) on different perspectives of grief and loss to support health visitor practice in this area, including:

  • Care following pregnancy loss or death of an unborn baby
  • Care following death of a baby (including stillbirth and SUDI)
  • Care following death of an infant/child (1-4years)
  • Supporting parents whose parent (or early attachment figure) dies
  • Supporting parents when their partner dies

These new GPPs will join our current revised GPP – When a parent dies

GPPs are available to our members and will be published on our website throughout this week – so look out for them!


Voices blog

We will also post a new Voices blog from Marc Harder – Sands, National Bereavement Care Pathway Project Lead this week – coming soon!


National Bereavement Care Pathway

If you haven’t visited the National Bereavement Care Pathway information yet please do. It is a pathway to improve the bereavement care offered to parents in England  following pregnancy or baby loss. There is a wealth of helpful resources and information within the pathways developed, and more than 50% of maternity provider organisations have signed up to adopt the pathways and bereavement standards in practice to date. It is a massive achievement by the team and does mean that a huge proportion of you will be working alongside midwifery colleagues working to those standards with parents in their/your care.



Make the most of the fantastic e-learning modules hosted on the e-Learning For Health (eLfH) platform. The two modules include:

  • Bereavement Care after Pregnancy Loss or Baby Death – Learning for All: this has been designed to provide support when talking to bereaved individuals. They offer suggestions and guidance about what to say and do and are suitable for anyone who might come into contact, in their work or home life, with a person bereaved through pregnancy loss or baby death.
  • Bereavement Care after Pregnancy Loss or Baby Death – Healthcare Professionals: this course is for healthcare professionals caring for newly bereaved individuals. Working through the themes of the National Bereavement Care Pathway, the course helps healthcare professionals understand the important elements of excellent bereavement care

The Good Grief Trust

Go to The Good Grief Trust website for a range of information for families and professionals relating to all aspects of grief. It really is a one stop shop. Good Grief Trust cards entitled “Help and Hope in one place” are available to all practitioners so you have these to offer families as needed. CEO Linda Magistris is keen to get these to health visitors.

Finally, keep an eye out for the national events taking place this week coordinated by The Good Grief Trust as part of the national awareness week. See programme at: http://nationalgriefawarenessweek.org/events/?event-year=2020

  • We draw your attention to Monday 7 December, which is a Bereaved Parents day and will focus on baby loss and child loss (at any age).
  • The week will finish on Tuesday 8 December with an evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral – London, an informal minute’s silence at 5pm and UK-wide buildings (including St Paul’s) being lit up in yellow from 6pm to commemorate all those lost this year.

And finally

Please keep safe and well this National Grief Awareness week. We are seeking to support the campaign to normalise grief and help people to talk about loss. Remember the resources are there for you too, should you need them.


Here at iHV, we value our many varied and trusted partnerships, through which we offer support or are supported in pursuing important outcomes for the health visiting profession with the aim of improving outcomes for children and families. We were delighted to meet Linda Magistris, Founder and CEO of The Good Grief Trust, earlier in 2019 and to be invited to the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG*) on Bereavement Support, and together we proposed many ways iHV might work with The Good Grief Trust.

With the theme of #OpenUpToGrief, it is now just a few days to go to the very first UK National Grief Awareness Week #NGAW19 (2–8 December). We are proud to show our support to The Good Grief Trust (who is leading the campaign on an entirely voluntary basis) to give a national platform to the impact of grief, and to raise awareness of the significance of being open and talking about grief. Most health visitors will have lived experience of loss and bereavement, and additionally there are many ways that practitioners will come into contact with families experiencing grief (whether that be due to the loss of an unborn baby, a new infant, an older child, a partner or a parent) through their practice.

Just a few things to for your “To do list” to add your support for #NGAW19:

  1. Read our new Voices blog

We are so pleased to have had the support of Charlotte Jolliffe, Freddie’s Mum and inspirational founder of Freddie’s Wish foundation. Charlotte has shared an amazing Voices blog for us – please do read it. It reminds us of the importance of being present and compassionate, rather than feeling the need to find fixes or answers.

In Charlotte’s blog, find out about and support #DonutDay on 7 December during #NGAW19 and share a selfie of you eating a donut (Proper excuse to enjoy a donut!) on social media , please tag @Freddies_wish and #DonutDay.

  1. Check out The Good Grief Trust website

Take a look at the resources available to parents and professionals via The Good Grief Trust website – and review national and local services to support families in your area. Share with relevant organisations locally so that they can sign up if they are not represented. Be open about loss and share a picture during #NGAW19 on social media of someone you have lost and are grieving, to raise awareness of talking about grief this Christmas – tag @goodgrieftrust and add hashtags #OpenUpToGrief and #SayTheirName

  1. Look out for new iHV Good Practice Points supporting Grief

We have identified a suite of new Good Practice Points that we are seeking to produce to support health visiting practice with bereaved families and those experiencing grief. We will be working with key experts (those with lived experience) to ensure that these new resources help practitioners provide the best support to families. We hope to publish these via our website in Spring 2020.

*Note: the APPG is currently dissolved due to the current election period and closure of parliament. We look forward to meetings resuming in January 2020.

iHV is proud to be a partner collaborating on this important national work – National Bereavement Care Pathway: Supporting Parents for Pregnancy and Neonatal Loss.

This month sees the launch of the e-learning modules on the e-Learning for Healthcare platform. The training programme has been written to share the elements of good bereavement care. Please take time to review these modules and to share their existence with everyone you work in your teams, GP practices, Children’s Centres and communities.

The first two sessions of the new National Bereavement Care Pathway: Supporting Parents for Pregnancy and Neonatal Loss e-learning programme are now available. The training programme has been written to share the elements of good bereavement care.  It is being delivered by e-LfH’s team in partnership with Sands and a collaboration of other charities, professional organisations and people, including iHV, with first-hand experience of bereavement.

The programme will consist of six sessions and is divided into two courses:

  • Bereavement Care after Pregnancy Loss or Baby Death – Learning for All

These training sessions have been designed to provide support when talking to bereaved individuals. They offer suggestions and guidance about what to say and do and are suitable for anyone who might come into contact, in their work or home life, with a person bereaved through pregnancy loss or baby death.

  • Bereavement Care after Pregnancy Loss or Baby Death – Healthcare Professionals

This course is for healthcare professionals caring for newly bereaved individuals. Working through the themes of the National Bereavement Care Pathway, the course helps healthcare professionals understand the important elements of excellent bereavement care; it covers delivering bad news, memory making, post mortem and histology, ceremonies and services, discharge, aftercare, feedback and review.

Image credit: People photo created by yanalya – www.freepik.com

The quality of care that bereaved families receive when their baby dies can have long-lasting effects. Good seamless care between services can help support parents through this time; conversely poor care can make the situation much harder for families.

iHV was proud to work alongside key partner charities and professional bodies on this project, which has been supported by the Department of Health and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss, and led by SANDS. Antoinette Sandbach MP highlighted the outcome of evaluation of an extended two phase pilot at Prime Minister’s Questions and, in response, Theresa May has urged all Trusts to adopt the pathway work into practice.

For more information: https://nbcpathway.org.uk

There are pathways covering 5 areas of loss to underpin high quality, individualised and sensitive care for:

  • Miscarriage
  • Termination of Pregnancy for Foetal Anomaly
  • Stillbirth
  • Neonatal Death
  • Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy – up to 12 months

Actions for health visitors:

  1. Review the pathways and consider the health visiting contribution to supporting families with pregnancy or baby loss
  2. Share the pathways with your Professional Lead and ask how your organisation will be taking the pathways forward in practice – direct them to: https://nbcpathway.org.uk/professionals
  3. Connect with your Community Midwives and ensure they are aware of the pathways too
  4. Find out more about which local maternity hospitals are adopters of the pathway via your local Maternity Voices or Maternity Transformation meetings in your region

The NBC pathway has been shown to help strengthen support to the bereaved families in pilot areas. There is now a rallying call and all health visiting services, like their maternity services partners, must be aware of and adopt these standards for the benefit of families in their care.

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 www.nbcpathway.org.uk

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.

9 – 15 October, Baby Loss Awareness Week #BLAW2018, sees the publication of a significant piece of national collaborative work to develop a National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP).

Statistics for #babyloss tell us that around 15 babies died before, during or soon after birth every day in the UK in 2015. Of those, 9 babies a day were stillborn1. Additionally, one in four women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime and one in one hundred will endure recurrent miscarriages (more than 3 in a row)2. Many of these women and their partners will go on to have a successful pregnancy and others may already be parents. Therefore, as health visitors we will already be working alongside many families affected by baby loss, and will contribute to the delivery of quality care to support new parents through a devastating time.

iHV has been honoured to be part of the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) work for England over the past year, meeting alongside 13 or more different national charities and professional bodies (Bliss, Lullaby Trust, RCM, RCN, etc) on the project led by Marc Harder for SANDS, with the support of the Department of Health and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss. The aim for the project is to ensure that all bereaved parents are offered equal, high quality, individualised, safe and sensitive care in any experience of pregnancy or baby loss, be that miscarriage, termination of pregnancy for fetal anomaly, stillbirth, neonatal death, or sudden unexpected death in infancy (up to 12 months).

The NBCP Core Group has overseen the development of specific pathways to support each experience of loss described above, with the Training sub-group creating a training toolkit to support dissemination. There has been a Wave 1 pilot of the pathway in 32 sites from October 2017 and a further 21 sites in Wave 2, including one area of Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust that employs health visitors. Valuable feedback from hundreds of professionals and parents has fed into the project and shaped this vital work to ensure that it supports the delivery of consistently confident, parent-centred, empathic and safe care when a baby dies.

Go to: www.nbcpathway.org.uk to review the Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infancy (up to 12 months) pathway. See also: National Bereavement Care Pathway – standards.

The work is now heading towards national roll out and will bring huge benefits to parents and professionals alike. Please share this work amongst your health visiting colleagues and managers to discuss how the pathway and standards might be implemented in your area. Dissemination is key – help spread the message as widely as you can with all your multi-agency colleagues (GPs, Midwives etc) and check they are aware of the emergence of the national pathway.

Of note there is also work commencing in Scotland this month to bring the NBCP project to Scotland. Please contact [email protected] if you are an HV and would be interested in contributing to the Scotland project.

  1. https://www.sands.org.uk/about-sands/media-centre/blog/2017/06/every-96-minutes-baby-dies
  2.  https://www.tommys.org/our-organisation/charity-research/pregnancy-statistics/miscarriage accessed 27.9.18

The Prime Minister has intervened to establish a Funeral Fund for grieving parents who have lost their child.

Under the scheme, parents will no longer have to meet the costs of burials or cremations. Fees will be waived by all local authorities and met instead by government funding.

Every year an estimated 4,350 children die under the age of 18 and grieving parents can face thousands in council fees for burial or cremation costs. There is also considerable variation in charges, with some councils waiving fees altogether.

The intervention brings England in line with Wales and follows a cross-party campaign by bereaved parents to remove fees for funerals for those under the age of 18.