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BACKGROUND: Following a perinatal death, a formal standardised multi-disciplinary review should take place, to learn from the death of a baby and facilitate improvements in future care. It has been recommended that bereaved parents should be offered the opportunity to give feedback on the care they have received and integrate this feedback into the perinatal mortality review process. However, the MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Confidential Enquiry (2015) found that only one in 20 cases parental concerns were included in the review. Although guidance suggests parental opinion should be sought, little evidence exists on how this may be incorporated into the perinatal mortality review process. The purpose of the PARENTS study was to investigate bereaved parents' views on involvement in the perinatal mortality review process. METHODS: A semi-structured focus group of 11 bereaved parents was conducted in South West England. A purposive sampling technique was utilised to recruit a diverse sample of women and their partners who had experienced a perinatal death more than 6 months prior to the study. A six-stage thematic analysis was followed to explore parental perceptions and expectations of the perinatal mortality review process. RESULTS: Four over-arching themes emerged from the analysis: transparency; flexibility combined with specificity; inclusivity; and a positive approach. It was evident that the majority of parents were supportive of their involvement in the perinatal mortality review process and they wanted to know the outcome of the meeting. It emerged that an individualised approach should be taken to allow flexibility on when and how they could contribute to the process. The emotional aspects of care should be considered as well as the clinical care. Parents identified that the whole care pathway should be examined during the review including antenatal, postnatal, and neonatal and community based care. They agreed that there should be an opportunity for parents to give feedback on both good and poor aspects of their care. CONCLUSION: Parents were unaware that a review of their baby's death took place in the hospital. Parental involvement in the perinatal mortality review process would promote an open culture in the healthcare system and learning from adverse events including deaths. Further research should focus on designing and evaluating a perinatal mortality review process where parental feedback will be integral.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/s12884-017-1509-z

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth

Publication Date

02/10/2017

Volume

17