National Children’s Hospitals Bereavement Network standards for supporting families following the death of a child
evidence and practice    

National Children’s Hospitals Bereavement Network standards for supporting families following the death of a child

Francis Edwards Retired Lead Nurse for Children’s Palliative Care and Bereavement Support Team, Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Bristol, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your understanding of the processes that take place after the death of a child

  • To enable you to communicate sensitively and effectively with bereaved families and assist them to understand the next steps that need to be taken

  • To support you to develop your own local policy and standard operating procedure for this important aspect of care, in accordance with best practice and statutory guidance

In England, a child death review process must be undertaken when a child dies, regardless of the cause of death. Scotland and Wales have their own version of the child death review process, while it is the author’s understanding that Northern Ireland are still developing their process. An important aspect of this process is family engagement and bereavement support.

This article is an introduction to the bereavement support standards developed by the National Children’s Hospitals Bereavement Network, a newly formed group of specialist children’s nurses and allied health professionals interested in bereavement care. These standards translate the statutory requirements into practical guidance for healthcare professionals working in children’s hospitals in the UK or district general hospitals that offer services for children and families. They also apply to NHS trusts that care for children and need to develop a local policy and workforce with the appropriate skills to provide bereavement care, thereby improving the experiences of families and healthcare professionals. The standards would also be applicable to other NHS trusts and healthcare services in the UK who want to develop an approach to bereavement care and support for families.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2020.e1336

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

Francis.worth33@gmail.com

Conflict of interest

None declared

Edwards F, on behalf of the National Children’s Hospitals Bereavement Network (2020) National Children’s Hospitals Bereavement Network standards for supporting families following the death of a child. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2020.e1336

Published online: 23 September 2020

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