The Perinatal Pathway for Babies with Palliative Care Needs is the latest in our suite of care pathways. This 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 they need to plan the future care of their life-threatened baby.
The 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 and 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.
The Perinatal Pathway is guided by standards at each stage of the journey, underpinned by a series of goals. We have produced a Standards Framework, with associated self-assessment audit tool relating to the standards and the goals in the Perinatal Pathway. This will enable teams to map how their service currently performs and think about areas for development the areas where the standards may not be fully met.