The revised Bereavement Careplan includes regional guidance and seven care pathways, each related to when the pregnancy or infant loss occurs.
The aim of the guidance is to make care more personalised and ensure staff are trained to support parents appropriately.
Launching the new guidance last week, Health Minister Jim Wells said: “Sadly, while the vast majority of pregnancies and births are straightforward, the fact remains that sometimes events unfold that mean the loss of a beloved baby. Each of these lives has incalculable value. Each loss leaves behind grieving families and friends, therefore compassionate, effective support frameworks should be in place to help them.”
The Minister added: “I feel strongly that the health and social care sector should do its utmost to support and help all those in this situation, and I am confident that the implementation of this new bereavement pathway will go a long way to improve the experiences of everyone affected by the death of a baby, whether this happens early on in the pregnancy around the time of birth, or in the early days of his or her life.”
The Careplan is a result of work led by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Practice and Education Council (NIPEC), and a regional steering group.