Bereavement Counselling: Standards

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which exemplar bereavement care pathways have been identified as models of good practice by his Department and NHS England; what effect they have had on improving bereavement support; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department takes to share good practice in bereavement care across the health system; what progress his Department has made to end variation in bereavement care by 2020, as committed to in 2016 in response to the Review of Choice in End of Life Care; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Government’s response to the independent review of choice in end of life care (July 2016) made clear that high quality bereavement care is a key component of good end of life care, supporting families and loved ones at this very difficult time in their lives. For this reason, a number of resources have been developed to help improve bereavement support and end of life care.

Health Education England, in partnership with Skills for Care and Skills for Health, published a refreshed End of Life Care Core Skills Education and Training Framework in March 2017 which aims to standardise end of life care training and education, including around bereavement care. It is available at the following link:

www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/services/item/536-end-of-life-care-cstf-download

The national bereavement care pathway for pregnancy and baby loss was launched in 2017 and seeks to increase the quality of, and reduce the inequity in, the bereavement care provided by healthcare professionals after the loss of a baby or pregnancy at any gestation. It is available at the following link:

https://nbcpathway.org.uk/

Guidance for NHS trusts on working with bereaved families and carers was published by NHS England in July 2018 and provides advice to trusts on how they should support, communicate and engage with families following a death of someone in their care. The guidance is available at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/publication/learning-from-deaths-guidance-for-nhs-trusts-on-working-with-bereaved-families-and-carers/

In December 2018, NHS England published ‘When a child dies - a guide for parents and carers’ to support parents through the child death review process and help them understand the support that is available. This is available at the following link:

www.lullabytrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/parent-leaflet-child-death-review.pdf

‘Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action 2015-2020’, published by the National Palliative and End of Life Care Partnership, sets out the ambitions for palliative and end of life care and presents a framework for local action. This is available at the following link:

http://endoflifecareambitions.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Ambitions-for-Palliative-and-End-of-Life-Care.pdf

The importance of bereavement care is also reflected in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence quality standard on end of life care and other end of life care guidance, which commissioners should take into account when planning services for local populations. The quality standard is available at the following link:

www.nice.org.uk/guidance/qs13/resources/end-of-life-care-for-adults-pdf-2098483631557

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