New HSE standards for bereavement care


IRELAND – New standards for bereavement care following pregnancy loss and perinatal death have recently been launched by the HSE in Ireland (10th of August 2016). Defining the care that parents and families who have had a pregnancy loss or a perinatal death (a stillborn child or a death within the first weeks of a baby’s life) can expect to receive from the health services, these standards are to be put in place in all appropriate hospitals and settings.

According to the Irish Minister for Health, Simon Harris, the HSE National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death “will ensure that clinical and counselling services will be in place to support women and their families in all pregnancy loss situations, from early pregnancy loss to perinatal death, as well as situations where there is a diagnosis of a life-limiting or fatal foetal anomaly.”

The standards were developed by a group of experts comprising representatives from obstetrics, midwifery, psychiatry, paediatrics, social work, chaplaincy and also the Irish Hospice Foundation. This followed a national audit of maternity unit bereavement services, a broad-reaching public consultation, consultation with practitioners and voluntary support organisations, as well as the development of the new National Maternity Strategy and the draft HIQA Maternity Standards.

The four key standards centre on bereavement care, the role of the hospital, high quality palliative care for the baby in accordance to the wishes of parents, and staff education and training.

Download the HSE National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death