Karin Säflund is Medical Social Worker in the Division of Nursing Research and the Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet; Berit Sjögren is Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Karolinska Hospital, Karolinska Institutet; and Regina Wredling is Associate Professor, Department of Nursing and Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
The Role of Caregivers after a Stillbirth: Views and Experiences of Parents
Version of Record online: 21 MAY 2004
Volume 31, Issue 2, pages 132–137, June 2004
How to Cite
Säflund, K., Sjögren, B. and Wredling, R. (2004), The Role of Caregivers after a Stillbirth: Views and Experiences of Parents. Birth, 31: 132–137. doi: 10.1111/j.0730-7659.2004.00291.x
This study was supported by the Swedish Foundation for Health Care Sciences and Allergy Research, Stockholm, and by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.
- Issue online: 21 MAY 2004
- Version of Record online: 21 MAY 2004
Abstract: Background: The clinical role of the caregiver to parents in the event of a stillbirth has yet to be defined. The aim of this paper was to focus on the caregivers’ support as revealed by the parents’ experiences. Method: One or both parents of 31 stillborn infants (≥28 weeks) were interviewed twice, for a total of 57 interviews. The data analysis was conducted using a qualitative approach. Results: Parents identified the caregivers’ behavior and handling of the stillbirth as important. Findings showed that caregivers should support parents in moments of chaos and at other difficult times. The parents needed assistance in both facing and separating from the baby. The six “qualities” that summarized the findings were “support in chaos,”“support in the meeting with and separation from the baby,”“support in bereavement,”“explanation of the stillbirth,”“organization of the care,” and “understanding the nature of grief.” Findings indicate that the hospital is under an obligation to organize the care and make it possible for parents to see the same caregivers again, and to offer extra ultrasound investigations and checkups without unnecessary bureaucracy. Conclusion: We suggest that the “qualities” identified by the study findings should be implemented in clinical care, and could facilitate active guidance and counseling for bereaved parents who have experienced a stillbirth.