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:

  • 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.