The sudden unexpected death of an infant or young child is very distressing for families, and the health professionals involved. This guide aims to give you the tools to know what to do, and how to best support yourself, your team and the bereaved parents/caregivers.
Note: if the deceased infant is aged 0-12 months, Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy policy applies
Stop, take a deep breath and be self-aware. Understand your limitations and needs so you can better care for the parents and caregivers in this situation.
A calm and empathic approach helps parents and caregivers to feel less rushed or pressured, at a time when they are in shock and often overwhelmed.
Acknowledging and respecting relationships helps parents and caregivers to remain connected to the child, when they may otherwise feel their role in the child’s life has been taken from them.
Keeping parents and caregivers informed can help them understand what to expect and why, so they feel less alienated from the process.
The child’s death is the beginning of a long grieving process and will have a life-long impact for parents and caregivers. Planning ahead for medium and long-term support is crucial to safe and healthy grieving.