Sands believes that parents must have the opportunity to feed their thoughts into the review of their baby's death, and to ask the questions that are important to them.
For healthcare professionals it can feel difficult to approach parents at an acutely distressing time and to raise sensitive issues. We have developed resources, both within Sands and in collaboration with the PMRT group, to support anyone engaging parents in a review or investigation process. Parents have told us what's important to them and we have used that feedback to inform these resources.
Healthcare professionals can sometimes find the review process difficult themselves. Remember you can use Sands helpline services if you would like support or to talk someone.
Sands Research and Prevention Advisor, Charlotte Bevan, talks about the importance of parent engagement in perinatal mortality review:
Principles for engaging parents in review/investigation
Sands has developed a set of principles for engaging parents in any review or investigation of their baby's death.
Parent engagement pathway for the PMRT
The voice of parents should be at the heart of any mortality review process: parents must be able to ask questions and give their perspective of their care after their baby died. These should be addressed by the review team.
The PMRT group, with Sands input , has developed a series of resources to support health professionals in implementing parent engagement in the mortality review process. These include:
- a flowchart, week by week pathway, for parent engagement
- information for parents about what the PMRT review means
- template follow-up letters for communicating with parents
- a guide for health professionals in writing sensitively-worded and plain English summaries of the review's findings to share with families
These are all available on the PMRT website www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/pmrt/parent-engagement-materials
To read why it's important to offer parents the opportunity to share their views and questions as part of the review process download this presentation "Role of parents in reviews"
Saying Sorry when a baby dies
Sands has a statement about the importance of saying 'sorry' when a baby has died.
Parents appreciate words such as, "I'm sorry that your baby has died". Saying sorry is a simple expression of human empathy. It is not a legal admission of liability for something having gone wrong.