Today we have launched our latest campaign Finding the words: supporting the NHS to support families.
Thousands of bereaved families across the UK who are already struggling with the death of their baby are facing added social isolation and anxiety.
Supporting bereaved families can also be challenging for professionals who are also trying to manage their own emotions and may feel unprepared and daunted.
We want to ensure all NHS workers have the confidence and skills to care for families when the worst happens.
Now, more than ever, Sands is here to support all staff working in hospitals; through its helpline, online resources and training, and a new video animation showing the difference good bereavement care can make.
Sands Chief Executive, Clea Harmer said: “Every day, COVID-19 is impacting on newly-bereaved families’ ability to spend precious time with their baby making memories; it is creating extreme difficulties in arranging funerals; and is making coping so very much more difficult because of isolation from friends and family.
“However, even in this current crisis it is still possible to provide empathetic and kind care for these devastated families and Sands can do much to support NHS staff in this and to help alleviate the pressure many staff are feeling. We are experts in supporting NHS staff to respond to, and cope with, bereavement and have a strong track record of doing this for many years.
“Good care cannot remove a family’s pain and grief, but it can have a long-lasting impact on their wellbeing helping them continue in life without their much-loved baby, which is why it is so important to get it right.
“I’d like to thank all those who continue to offer the best care to parents when their baby dies, during this challenging time. And thank you to everyone who supports the work we do.”
Excellent care when a baby dies is crucial is for the long-term mental health and wellbeing of families.
Bereaved dad Darren said: “Our son Isaac died when he was six days old. We will be eternally grateful to NHS staff in the neo-natal intensive care unit, they gave us these precious days with Isaac, they gave us the ability to make memories with him and we can’t be more grateful.”
Elaine, whose baby Niall passed away when he was three days old, said: “I can’t praise the NHS staff enough, their support and sensitivity got us though a very dark time, something I’ll never forget.”
Supporting those bereaved following the death of a baby is one of the most difficult parts of the job for many health care professionals. They may worry about how they will cope if the worst happens, that they will not know what to say or do, or that they will breakdown themselves.
After taking part in Sands training one NHS worker said: “Thank you. Although emotional, it was very beneficial to our role and I will take into practice what I have learnt today”.
Sands is offering NHS workers guidance, tools and on-line training including:
• Resources and materials such as memory boxes
• Helpline for NHS staff
• E-learning and webinars
• On-line tools, resources and materials via the National Bereavement Care Pathway
For more information visit sands.org.uk/findingthewords