Today Cristina Vasilica has kindly given some of her time to teach me how to blog. So here I am creating my first blog. To introduce myself. I am a Professor in Midwifery in the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work (College of Health and Social Care) at the University of Salford (Greater Manchester). The picture below is of me holding baby Jamie McKay who is the son of a good friend of mine. He is alive, thriving and well.
I have several areas of academic interest, but today I will introduce just one - bereavement. Maternity health and social care professionals are often called upon to care for parents who have experienced a pregnancy loss or the death of an infant. In such circumstances, they are expected to interact with bereaved parents and their families in a supportive manner. Consequently, it is important that staff feel adequately prepared with strategies to deliver effective bereavement care. The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS) recommends that all community health practitioners who support bereaved parents should have access to basic, post basic and in-service training to equip them to offer adequate care to such families. This has recently been endorsed by the Scottish Government’s guidance “Shaping Bereavement Care”, which called for improved training and support for all NHS staff working in this field. For many bereaved parents, the care that maternity health and social care professionals provide has a crucial effect on their response to a loss or death. Providing care to grieving parents can be demanding, difficult and stressful, with some professionals feeling ill equipped to provide appropriate help. In 2009, the National Maternity Support Foundation (NMSF) survey reported that the level of bereavement care delivered in a number of maternity units in the UK was inadequate. In response to the results of the NMSF (2009), I collaborated with a midwifery lecturer from Glasgow Caledonian University to write a book called “Bereavement Care for Childbearing Women and their Families”. This workbook has been designed to facilitate midwives, neonatal nurses and allied health and social care professionals with developing structured skills to deliver effective bereavement care. On completion of this workbook, the reader should be equipped with fundamental skills to support childbearing women, partners and families who have experienced childbirth related bereavement. At a national and international level, there is valuable information for a wide range of interested parties.
This book is now a course reader for a module to be delivered on line at Masters level in the University of Salford (School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work). In fact, there is a whole masters degree in midwifery/women's health available from the University of Salford that you can access from the comfort of your own home. This MSc is available at a national and international level.
The beautiful painting ‘Earth Mother’ on the front cover of this book was painted by Becca Marsh who has a BA(Hons) in Fine Art and was a Student Midwife at the University of Salford who qualified in September 2012. The painting was completed as part of the ‘The Art of Midwifery Project’, which is carried out in the third year of the midwifery degree program. The art project involves students creating positive images of pregnancy and birth. Thank you Becca. Details of the book follow:
Reference: Hollins Martin, C.J., Forrest, E. (2013) Bereavement care for
childbearing women and their families: an interactive workbook.
Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon (UK).
Published: 12th July 2013 by Routledge – 168 pages
For many bereaved parents, the care provided by health professionals at birth – from midwives to antenatal teachers – has a crucial effect on their response to a loss or death. This interactive workbook is clearly applied to practice and has been designed to help practitioners deliver effective bereavement care. Providing care to grieving parents can be demanding, difficult and stressful, with many feeling ill equipped to provide appropriate help. Equipping the reader with fundamental skills to support childbearing women, partners and families who have experienced childbirth-related bereavement, this book outlines:
(1) What bereavement is and the ways in which it can be experienced
in relation to pregnancy and birth
(2) Sensitive and supportive ways of delivering bad news to childbearing
women, partners and families
(3) Models of grieving
(4) How to identify when a bereaved parent may require additional
support from mental health experts
(5) Ongoing support available for bereaved women, their partners
(6) The impact on practitioners and the support they may require
(7) How to assess and tailor care to accommodate a range of spiritual
and religious beliefs about death.
Written by two highly educated, experienced midwifery lecturers, this practical and evidence-based workbook is a valuable resource for all midwives, neonatal nurses and support workers who work with women in the perinatal period.