News-“Parents’ perspective of what happened is critical to understanding how care can be improved”

“Parents’ perspective of what happened is critical to understanding how care can be improved, and they must be given the opportunity to be involved, with open, respectful and sensitive support provided throughout,” said Judith Abela, acting chief executive at Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

She went on to say that: ” a more effective review process involving parents” is needed.

Her comments come after a review into how the NHS investigate deaths babies who die or are severely brain damaged during labour.  – BBC News

The warning by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists comes as it publishes its preliminary report into how problems during labour are investigated.

More than 900 cases have been referred to the programme.

Of the 204 investigations reviewed, 27% were found to be of poor quality.

The review has also been looking at the number of cases where parents have been involved in the investigations – nearly three-quarters of the 599 reviewed did not involve them in any meaningful way.

Ministers said the findings were “unacceptable”. The final report is due in 2017.

Prof Alan Cameron, vice-president of the RCOG and a consultant obstetrician in Glasgow, said: “When the outcome for parents is the devastating loss of a baby or a baby born with a severe brain injury, there can be little justification for the poor quality of reviews found.

“The emotional cost of these events is immeasurable, and each case of disability costs the NHS around £7m in compensation to pay for the complex, lifelong support these children need.”

Health Minister Ben Gummer said the findings were “unacceptable”.

“We expect the NHS to review and learn from every tragic case, which is why we are investing in a new system to support staff to do this and help ensure far fewer families have to go through this heartache,” he said.

My thoughts:

For those who read my blogs or news items I am covering regularly, you will know that I too have been through the NHS complaints complaints system following the death of a child and having already studied counselling, I had to use these skills to understand and manage the immense torment and harsh reality of the raising a complaint. The psychological well-being of the person grieving and indeed the staff, is so often not given any credence. Little support through training in how to support a person grieving and be able to empathically extract all the vital emotional data that can be made available from those grieving. Listening to subtle cues that can give you immense information.

Loss and bereavement was my specialist subject in counselling and then having to go through the process of life changing grief, grief that has the potential to rip your world to shreds, drives my passion to train staff within complaints with thought provoking, real, insightful, and psychologically based training, putting psychological well being at the heart of communication training and practice.

My heart goes out to all those parents whose child has lost their life or been brain damaged and their life made more difficult though systems that are not always equipped to support and investigate well.

My heart actually goes out too to the complaints staff, often with little or no training on empathy, counselling and grief. And to the clinicians who need support to evaluate and understand their own feelings of fear, sadness and the multitude of emotions that they will have to manage.

Original source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-36490345

Related course to address the point raised in this article:

Using Empathy to Help Resolve Complaints

Email me with any enquiries: carolyn@cc-et.co.uk

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