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Keywords:

  • attitudes;
  • hospital policy;
  • midwives;
  • nurses;
  • perinatal bereavement care;
  • religion

Abstract

Title.  Nurses’ attitudes towards perinatal bereavement care.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to explore the factors associated with nurses and midwives’ attitudes towards perinatal bereavement care.

Background.  Caring for and supporting parents whose infant has died is extremely demanding, difficult and stressful. In some situations nurses may experience personal failure, feel helpless, and need to distance themselves from bereaved parents because they feel unable to deal with the enormity of the parental feelings of loss.

Method.  A correlational questionnaire study using convenience sampling was carried out in Singapore in 2007 with 185 nurses/midwives in one obstetrics and gynaecology unit.

Results.  Regression models showed that nurses/midwives with religious beliefs and those with more positive attitudes to the importance of hospital policy and training for bereavement care were statistically significantly more likely to have a positive attitude towards perinatal bereavement care. Nurses emphasized their need for increased knowledge and training on how to cope with bereaved parents and requested greater support from team members and the hospital.

Conclusion.  Bereavement counselling education and preceptorship supervision are recommended to reduce this stressful experience, increase the confidence and expertise of novices, and lead to increased quality of care for bereaved parents.