Every year over 80,000 babies in the UK are admitted to a specialist neonatal unit for care. Babies with life-threatening or life-limiting conditions, and their families benefit from the Together for Short Lives neonatal care pathway. The conditions affecting these babies will have begun in utero or early in the neonatal period and are anticipated to affect their life expectancy. 


Neonatal Pathway for Babie coverThis pathway, published in 2009, aims to draw together the professionals and resources needed to accompany the baby and family along their unique journey. It has been written for professionals and commissioners of services to ensure that the appropriate care and resources are available in the right place, at the right time, for each of these babies.

This is an integrated care pathway to support professionals working in maternity and obstetric services, neonatal and children’s services as they care for young babies who have life-threatening or life-limiting conditions. This pathway aims to ensure that families experience a co-ordinated approach to family centred care throughout their baby’s short life. With clear and open communication and support, families should be able to build and maintain access to an appropriate network of support, regardless of where they receive their care.

There are a series of overarching themes, which should be considered at every stage of the care pathway, along with six sentinel standards. For each of the standards, key goals and useful resources are identified to support care.

Download the Neonatal care pathway diagram

Buy the Care Pathway booklet

A Standards framework for children's palliative care can also be downloaded here, setting out the key standards that form the back bone of all four of our care pathways, for easy reference. It also includes self-assessment audit tools relating to these standards, so you and your colleagues can map how your service currently performs and think about how to develop the areas where the standards may not be fully met.