Daniella Davies, Staff nurse, Neonatal Unit, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, UK
Now that our islands have succeeded in ‘flattening the curve’, I am finally getting used to the new normality of working with a mask and visor throughout my 12-hour shifts. I fear that our patients and parents continue to suffer inadvertently due to the tight restrictions on parent visiting and handling and am currently advocating for this policy to be re-evaluated.
Providing the best possible bereavement care is always challenging, this article reflects on the care of twins who died separately on the neonatal unit during a time that was complicated not only by working in a half-completed new build, but also a pandemic of Covid-19. Whilst the national social distancing measures and policies we have had to put in place due to Covid 19 are essential; this has caused a massive strain on family support with restricted visiting causing sadness to both families and staff. Amidst all this, the death of a baby remains a critical time for families which will affect them forever; working around all the new procedures and adapting our normal care is paramount to provide a positive experience in the current circumstances.
I work as a senior band 5 neonatal nurse in a tertiary Neonatal Unit in the North West England that cares for around 1,000 sick and preterm newborns from across Cheshire and Merseyside, Isle of Man and Wales. We have a team of leading neonatologists and aim to be a centre of excellence.
Bereavement care is undertaken by the nurse caring for the family following the ‘North West Perinatal/Neonatal Palliative Care Guideline’, 2020 and supported by the consultant, room leader and resources on the unit. Parents are encouraged to make all decisions about their baby’s bereavement care and to have siblings and extended family involved from as early on in the journey as possible. We had a dedicated bereavement room where parents and families could have time alone with their baby, and a parent room to stay overnight with their family. Parents can take their baby home either before or after death, with the support of our local hospice and hospital bereavement team.