December 2020 update
Being sensitive to every step on the journey
Dr Marjory MacLean, Scottish Early Pregnancy Network
We talk about the journey our patients travel but have we thought about what that journey is like? Have we, secret shopper style, sat in the waiting room waiting for a scan which may lead to bad news of miscarriage, possibly expected or maybe out of the blue at an antenatal clinic; have we walked the path the patient takes from the scan room for further discussion; have we travelled the path they need to take to leave the early pregnancy unit, ultrasound department or the antenatal clinic; will it take us past new parents and grandparents hugging in the reception area or posters about the value of breast feeding? Have we considered whether this journey between departments should be made alone, or if the companionship of a member of staff would make it easier, ensuring the next department was aware of the patient’s diagnosis?
For many this journey is one of the hardest they will take. They remember every word that has been said but also the pictures on the walls; the wait for someone to open a door after pressing the entry buzzer; the sounds of crying babies, joyful parents, labouring women; the new parents taking a baby home in a car seat and the heavily pregnant women arriving for their appointment.
As we seek to provide excellent care at the time of pregnancy loss, would it help to travel the journey of our patients in an attempt to understand what they are experiencing? Maybe we would find another path for our patients which would minimise adding to their distress.
You can learn more about supporting women during pregnancy loss through the Miscarriage Association's free elearning unit.
You can also find training and support resources for miscarriage.