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Clinical practice guidelines for perinatal bereavement care – An overview

Journal title
Women and birth : journal of the Australian College of Midwives
Publication year
Boyle, F. M.; Horey, D.; Middleton, P. F.; Flenady, V.

BACKGROUND: High quality perinatal bereavement care is critical for women and families following stillbirth or newborn death. It is a challenging area of practice and a difficult area for guideline development due to a sparse and disparate evidence base. AIM: We present an overview of the newly updated Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand/Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence guideline for perinatal bereavement care. The guideline aims to provide clear guidance for maternity health care providers and their services to support the provision of care that meets the needs of bereaved parents. DISCUSSION: The Guideline for Respectful and Supportive Perinatal Bereavement Care is underpinned by a review of current research combined with extensive stakeholder consultation that included parents and their organisations and clinicians from a variety of disciplines. The Guideline contains 49 recommendations that reflect five fundamental goals of care: good communication; shared decision-making; recognition of parenthood; effective support; and organisational response. CONCLUSION: Best available research, parents' lived experiences and maternity care providers' insights have contributed to a set of implementable recommendations that address the needs of bereaved parents.

Research abstracts