ADVICE AND INFORMATION
When a Child Dies – A Guide for Parents and Carers
This useful booklet includes all the relevant information you will need to understand what happens, following the death of your child. It also includes information about sources of emotional and practical support. The booklet should have been given to you by the organisation where your child died, and it should include the name of your ‘key contact’ there. If you have not been told who this is, contact them and ask.
NHS – Information for families following a bereavement
This document, written as a families guide, describes how the NHS should respond to any death of a patient in their care, and includes important information about how concerns about the care gven to a person who has died should be investigated and how you can be involved in that process. I recommend you understand the infomration in this document and the one below, and wherever possible, ensure you are involved in the investigation process.
Ask if there is going to be an investigation
Say you want to be a partner to the investigation
Write up your recollection of events and ask that thye be included in the ‘timeline’
Ask to see the timeline so you can provide comments before it is accepted. This is the factual infomration about events and it needs to be as complete and accurate as is possible for the investigation to succeed
Ask to see staff statements and provide comment if you remember things they’ve not included
Ask to see a draft copy, to provide your comment, before the report is finalised. Ask for your comments to be incorporated in the final version, and if not, a copy of your comments be appended to the final version.
Always ask for explanations of anything you do not understand about the process, or decisions being made about what’s included / excluded
Contact AvMA for advice if you feel you are being treated unfairly
NHS – Learning from Deaths: Guidance for NHS Trusts on working with Bereaved Families
This guidance, written as the NHS trusts guide, sets out what trusts are expected to do after the death of someone’s loved one in their care, and how they must engage with families throughout andy serious incident investigation. You will find this information useful so that you fully understand what should be happening at the NHS institution/s that were involved in your child’s care, and what you can ask for and contribute.
AvMA – Action Against Medical Accidents
I wish I had been aware of AvMA as soon as Jasmine died. They have specialists working for them who have expert knowledge of how best to approach the inquest, investigation process, complaints process, or choose legal representation if you wish to make a claim for financial compensation. AvMA is ‘the’ UK charity for patient safety and justice’. They provide free and confidential clinical negligence support. My advice – do not instruct a solicitor until you have taken advice from AvMA. If you still wish to, they can recommend a good one to you. Visit their website for further information.
AvMA’s Self Help Guide for Inquests
In particular, the section designed specifically for families and the handbook available to read online or to order as a hard copy I think are particularly useful
SPECIALIST CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE COUNSELLING
Linda Kenward, Specialist Clinical Negligence Counsellor
Maureen Tuitt, Specialist Clinical Negligence Counsellor
Child Bereavement UK
The website is filled with support resources and infomration, including a searchable database to find a support group close to where you live. They also offer a helpline.
The Compassionate Friends
TCF is a charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents who have suffered the death of a child/children. They offer support both directly to bereaved families and indirectly by fostering understanding and good practice amongst professionals concerned with child death and by increasing public awareness.
They recognise that many who have suffered the loss of a child feel a bond with others similarly bereaved and wish to extend the hand of friendship.
Care for the Family – Bereaved Parents Support
The Bereaved Parent Support team want to help any parent who has lost a son or daughter of any age, in any circumstance and at any stage along their journey of grieving.
Everyone has heard of the Samaritans. They offer a 24/7 telephone support service for times of crisis. I found there were many times in the first few months after Jasmine died that I needed someone to talk to in the lonely hours in the middle of the night. They were there to listen.
This useful directory lists some options for a bereavment counsellor close to where you live.