Resources for staff
Facts and figures
The latest figures from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre on baby loss in Ireland show that 381 babies died in 2017. Stillbirths accounted for 235, early neonatal death accounted for 111 and late neonatal deaths accounted for 35. The research also shows an association between multiple pregnancy and baby loss.
The loss of a baby is a life changing event for parents and the friends and relatives. We are working hard to develop bereavement supports and resources for both families and healthcare staff, some of which are outlined below.
Guidance on loss in a multiple pregnancy
Over the last two decades, the number of multiple births has increased dramatically because of fertility treatments, and healthcare professionals are encountering loss in multiple births much more often. Doctors, paediatricians, midwives, allied health professionals, healthcare assistants, chaplains and counsellors and other staff who come in contact with bereaved parents require guidance on how to provide sensitive and informed care when there is loss in a multiple pregnancy. We have produced a booklet that aims to offer this guidance.
Butterfly alert symbol
The butterfly alert symbol is one of the most important resources to staff when there is a loss in a multiple pregnancy. While in hospital, staff and visitors may not know that a surviving baby is a twin or triplet. To address this, we produced a Butterfly Alert Symbol. This symbol indicates that a baby, on whose cot it is displayed, is the survivor of a multiple pregnancy. An accompanying hospital information poster can be displayed throughout the hospital to increase the awareness of the Butterfly Alert Symbol amongst staff and visitors to the hospital.
We have produced a “Bereavement Checklist” of things for bereaved parents to think about if their baby has died or is going to die. Many bereaved parents can feel numb and shocked if their baby has died or may die soon after they are born, and they can struggle to make decisions or think of the questions that they would like to ask their midwife. We have produced this checklist to help. Bereaved parents might like to think about answers to these questions, so that they can express their wishes in relation to their baby to their midwife and other relevant staff in the hospital.
Suite of Certificates
Our Angel Gown project
Our Angel Gown project is run by skillful volunteer seamstresses. Donated wedding and communion dresses are transformed into beautiful infant burial gowns that are then donated to bereaved families and the 19 maternity units throughout Ireland. At present we are not accepting dress donations as our storage facility is currently full.
- If you would like to request a selection of burial gowns for your hospital or for personal use or if you would like to volunteer as a seamstress, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baby loss knits
A selection of beautiful knitted hats, cardigan and blankets are available to the 19 maternity units throughout Ireland. These knits have been donated to us by talented, volunteer knitters and they are a precious gift for bereaved parents to dress their baby in for remembrance photography and / or burial.
- If you would like a selection of knits for your hospital contact us at email@example.com.
Certificate of Life
Sadly, if a baby dies before 24 completed weeks of pregnancy or is under 500g showing no signs of life, his or her birth cannot be entered into the Register of Stillbirths under the Stillbirth Registration Act 1994. This can be very upsetting for bereaved parents. Families who lose their baby are left feeling that their baby did not count. Many bereaved parents want their baby to be acknowledged and named. To assist with this, the INHA has produced a Certificate of Life which hospital staff can download and print off and offer it as an option to the parents as way of the hospital acknowledging their loss. You might like to complete the certificate with the parents.
- HSE National Standards in Bereavement Care
- Neonatal Butterfly Project
- HIQA National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services
- National Maternity Strategy 2016-2026
- National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre “Perinatal Mortality Reports and Forms”
- Pregnancy and Infant loss Ireland
- Mind your language: respectful language within maternity services (thelancet.com)