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Latest bereavement care guidance

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have produced updated guidance on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection in pregnancy. Section 4.10 states that "Maternity services should ensure that bereavement care remains of a high standard during the COVID-19 pandemic, with continued provision of appropriate intrapartum and postnatal care, including all appropriate investigations and postnatal appointments."

Royal College of Midwives and Sands have worked together to produce revised guidance on bereavement care during the pandemic. The guidance sets out fundamental care at a time when staff may be unable to offer care as they usually would.

Scottish Government have issued guidance on COVID-19 Remobilisation in maternity and neonatal services.

  • From 10th July onwards NHS Boards are expected to ensure follow up post-natal care following bereavement is in place, and plans are in place to resume all aspects of bereavement care including access to bereavement rooms by 31 August. 
  • By 30 September, National Bereavement Care Pathway early adopter Boards will be restarted across all five pathways in all sites.

Guidance on visiting in maternity and neonatal care allows partners/supporters to join a woman for ante/postnatal appointments and scans, and to accompany a woman in labour. In addition to the birth partner, one designated person may visit an ante/postnatal ward. One visitor may come into a neonatal care unit in addition to parents who are partners in their baby's care.

Sands COVID-19 and bereavement care provides advice and resources including guidance on compassionate communication while wearing PPE and on sensitive and effective communication. Sands are also providing free online training on bereavement care.

Staff support

NHS Education Scotland Psychosocial mental health and wellbeing support for staff pages cover looking after yourself, looking after people and looking after your staff.

The National Wellbeing Hub for health and social care staff provides resources for managers and resources for individuals including self care and normal feelings.

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges COVID-19 Mental health and wellbeing provides self care tips and resource links as well as advice on supporting patients and each other.

Scottish Quality and Safety (SQS) fellows have shared visual guidance on Stress, coping and resilience.

NHS Scotland's Staying safe and well guide is for staff looking after COVID-19 patients.

Sands Helpline is available for any healthcare staff who need emotional support or practical guidance on how to provide bereavement care during the COVID-19 outbreak. Freephone Helpline 0808 164 3332 from 9.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, and Tuesday & Thursday 9.30am to 9.30pm. Or email helpline@sands.org.uk or private message via the Sands Facebook page.

Sands are also providing free online bereavement care training. Their Finding the Words animation describes the support they offer NHS staff.

Self care apps are free to use via an NHS email. Unmind track your own mental wellbeing, Headspace guided meditation and mindfulness, Daylight personalised access to support with worry and anxiety, Sleepio CBT programme designed to help sleep.

Latest information

Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology’s Coronavirus (covid-19) infection and pregnancy page has a range of guidance for healthcare professionals including antenatal and postnatal care. You can sign up to receive email alerts when guidance is updated.

Royal College of Midwives Coronavirus (Covid-19) page has several briefings including maternity-specific clinical and employment advice.

Updated advice for neonatal settings including parents and visitors in NNU has been published by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. There is an earlier supplement on parents’ access to their baby in neonatal care

Society and College of Radiographers have issued a statement in collaboration with other bodies on recording video clips during ultrasound scans.

Royal College of General Practitioners have developed a guide for postnatal maternal and infant care.  GPs should offer a postnatal check to mothers who have experienced stillbirth or neonatal
death, handling this with appropriate sensitivity and asking about the father/partner and how they are coping. 

You may also want to signpost information and support to parents.

We are updating our information on COVID-19 frequently. Please let us know what you need at this time.

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