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HSE to focus on bereavement care for parents who suffer pregnancy loss

Author: Mary Ellen Breen
16 July 2015

The HSE has launched a public consultation process to improve the standard of bereavement care provided to families following pregnancy loss and perinatal death.<br />

When implemented these Bereavement Care Standards will seek to clearly define the Standards of Care parents and families can expect to receive following their loss.

Once completed and agreed, the new standards will be implemented and applied across the health service in all appropriate hospitals and settings. Nursing and medical staff will receive appropriate training and support to deal with parents who may or have experienced a pregnancy loss to ensure that the needs of parents and families are identified and responded to in a caring and compassionate manner.  

The Bereavement Care Standards been informed and developed by a team composed of people working in obstetrics, midwifery, nursing, psychiatry, paediatrics, education, social work, chaplaincy, ultrasonography, health service administration and the Irish Hospice Foundation.

Bereavement Specialist Teams are also being developed in hospitals across the country. Their role will be to assist and support parents, families and professionals dealing with a pregnancy loss.

Speaking at today’s launch Tony O’Brien the Director General of the HSE said, “The development of the Bereavement Care Standards marks another step in our progress to implement the recommendations and learning from the Galway maternity reports and other key reports since then. The health service must be in a position to respond compassionately to parents and families who experience a pregnancy loss and these Standards will be a key focus for improvement within our maternity services into the future.”

Chair of the Bereavement Care Standards Group, Dr. Ciaran Browne, said “We encourage as many people as possible to give us their views of these standards during the consultation process. We want to hear from the varying stakeholders including professionals working in the area, voluntary groups and most especially parents and families who may have experienced a pregnancy loss. The insights and feedback we receive will be important in ensuring we have identified the key improvements for the development of bereavement care services in maternity hospitals into the future”.

The consultation process will close on 11th September 2015. For more information visit

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