A new research study launching on 28 June will trial a national online grief support program for parents following a stillbirth or the death of their newborn baby.
The NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth (Stillbirth CRE) is coordinating the research study to evaluate the effectiveness of the program, which was co-designed and developed by a team of bereaved parents and healthcare professionals.
Called “Living with Loss”, the online support program shares evidence-based strategies commonly used by healthcare professionals to help parents navigate grief in the short and long-term.
Stillbirth CRE co-director Professor Vicki Flenady said researchers hoped to engage a wide range of bereaved parents to evaluate the effectiveness of the online program.
“The death of a child around the time of birth is one of the most profoundly distressing events any parent will experience and may often has lasting psychological, social and financial consequences,” Professor Flenady said. “We’d like to see parents from across Australia participate in this study to help us work towards improving bereavement care for all families.”
The online program includes six interactive modules, including topics on grief, managing intense feelings, facing difficult situations and conversations, strengthening relationships, and navigating the future.
Associate Professor Fran Boyle is a principal investigator on the study and was involved in developing the program, along with GPs, psychologists, social workers, midwives, and bereaved parents and their support organisations. She said it was important for parents to have access to a number of options for grief support because different parents will have different needs at different times.
“There is no set time frame for grief and no set way to grieve the loss of a baby,” Associate Professor Boyle said. “Support can come from different places, including family, friends, local and online support groups, telephone helplines and seeing a health professional.”
Study lead Dr Siobhan Loughnan from the Stillbirth CRE invites parents who have lost a baby in the past two years to participate in the study. “We hope that our research and the Living with Loss online program can help improve support options for bereaved parents and families in Australia,” she said.
Find out more about the Living with Loss research study or register online: http://livingwithloss.com.au/
The Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth is a national collaboration addressing the tragedy of stillbirth, administered by the Mater Research Institute – University of Queensland (MRI-UQ). The Stillbirth CRE aims to reduce the rate of stillbirth and improve care for parents and families whose baby is stillborn in Australia. For more information about the Stillbirth CRE, visit www.stillbirthcre.org.au
Living with Loss Study Coordinator
The Centre of Research Excellence in Stillbirth
07 3163 8027