The program draws on the experience of an expert advisory panel including representation from Red Nose, Sands, Stillbirth Foundation, medical clinicians, clinical psychologists, midwives, nurses and social workers in practice around Australia. Improving perinatal bereavement care after the loss of a baby is an urgent priority in Australia and internationally. This project aims to improve primary care capacity to deliver effective and easily accessible bereavement care to parents following stillbirth or neonatal death.
The Stillbirth CRE will develop a brief online, self-guided perinatal bereavement support program. The proposed program, Living with Loss, will be based on best practice guidelines for perinatal grief management and will utilise evidence-based psychotherapeutic skills and strategies to help parents cope with the normal grief process and manage the emotional distress that comes after the death of a new baby. The program will also provide strategies to assist parents in building resilience and coping abilities that may be helpful for emotional wellbeing over the longer-term. This program will be co-designed and developed with parents and healthcare providers across Australia to ensure the program meets the needs of parents seeking perinatal bereavement-focused education and psychological support. The program will be evaluated in a randomised controlled trial to determine the programs efficacy and acceptability before implementation into clinical care. If effective, this program will provide parents in Australia with an accessible, evidence-based option for perinatal bereavement support and help improve referral options for healthcare providers in the community, particularly for those residing in regional and rural areas of Australia where bereavement support services may be limited.