The Perinatal Pathway for Babies with Palliative Care Needs is the latest in our suite of care pathwaysThis is a revised edition of the Neonatal Pathway which was first published in 2009.


If a life-threatening condition is identified in pregnancy it can be helpful to introduce elements of palliative care in the antenatal period – to enable families to get the support that they need to plan for the future care of their very poorly baby. That’s why, Together for Short Lives has developed a dedicated care pathway from the point of recognition that a baby has a life-threatening condition and may not survive for long after birth and through their neonatal period. 

Perinatal PathwayThe Perinatal Pathway for Babies with Palliative Care Needs has been developed with expert input from leading ethicists and clinicians working across obstetrics, antenatal and neonatal care, and children’s palliative care.

The pathway is designed to support all professionals working in fetal medicine, antenatal, neonatal and maternity services to deliver sensitive and timely support at this heart-breaking time, enabling families to spend time with their baby, bonding and building memories, in a more home-like environment, and with as little technologically dependent care as possible.

It encourages professionals to work together across multidisciplinary teams and local services to provide the best response to families during a distressing and uncertain time. For example, by building relationships with local children’s hospices and palliative care charities that are increasingly supporting families and their babies at the end of their short life.

Better understanding of, and good relationships with local services could mean families are offered more choice, especially when a baby may only live a few hours or days.   


Download the Perinatal Pathway for Babies with Palliative Care Needs 


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.