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Bereavement Support Program

Mater Mothers’ Hospital's Bereavement Support Program provides care and support for families following the death of a baby. Staff involved in the program recognise the individuality of grief and acknowledge that the death of a baby can be devastating for both parents and families.

Guiding principles of care:

  • A commitment to ensuring all babies and their families are treated with dignity, respect and compassion.
  • The provision of timely and sensitive information.
  • A commitment to collaborative decision making between health care providers and families.
  • The provision of sensitive care alongside exceptional clinical care.
  • A commitment to ongoing research to decrease the incidence of stillbirth and neonatal death.

Helping your family

We are here to support you and your family wherever possible. Please advise if you have any special requests that we can assist with.

Health care professionals

Mater Mothers’ Hospitals continue to provide exceptional care for families following the death of a baby. During and after your stay in hospital a range of health care professionals will be involved in your care. Some of these people will meet with you face-to-face, while others will work behind the scenes. Key members of the team include:

Doctors and midwives—for some parents, the death of a baby is the first time they have faced the death of a loved one, and many are unsure of what to do. Doctors and midwives are professionals experienced in the care of bereaved families.

Pastoral care workers can offer support to parents and families following the death of a baby. They are experienced in responding to the emotional, psychological and spiritual needs that arise, and recognise the importance of rituals in the grieving process. They can provide the opportunity for families to have a naming and/or blessing service or a simple prayer. They respect families’ diverse needs and offer support on a denominational or non-religious basis. Pastoral care workers are available every day and can be contacted via your midwife or Mater's switchboard on 07 3163 8111.

Social workers offer counselling, grief and loss support, and practical assistance. They can also provide information on funeral arrangements and refer you to community resources if required after you leave hospital. Mater's Social Work Department can be contacted on 07 3163 8031, or after hours through Mater's switchboard on 07 3163 8111.

Mater's Bereavement Support Midwives are qualified grief and loss counsellors, who oversee the care provided for families following the death of a baby. This involves providing support or families while in hospital, and ongoing loss and grief support in the months after their baby’s death. The Bereavement Support Midwife also assists staff with providing exceptional care. If you have concerns or questions regarding the care provided for you or your baby, please contact the Bereavement Support Midwife weekdays on 07 3163 3467 or 0414 828 742.

Exceptional care

The following key aspects of the Bereavement Support Program enable us to provide families with comprehensive, compassionate care:

  • A multi-disciplinary team of health professionals committed to providing excellence in bereavement care.
  • An experienced Bereavement Support Midwife and counsellor available to support parents and staff.
  • Free, high quality, nationally recognised information booklets on a variety of bereavement topics.
  • Access to high quality clinical investigations into the possible cause of your baby’s death.
  • Strong partnerships with community organisations to provide ongoing support.
  • Access to ongoing grief support during the first year after your baby’s birth.
  • Caring for the people that care for you, ensuring your family is provided with the appropriate professional support.
  • Ongoing research—Mater is internationally recognised for its commitment to finding a cause for unexplained stillbirth. Along with our research in the area of neonatology, this forms part of the program’s commitment to preventing other families from enduring the pain of grief in the future.

Contact us

While in hospital, your midwife can contact any member of the health care team to arrange a visit for you and your family. Once you have left hospital, the Bereavement Support Service will continue to offer ongoing care and can be contacted directly during office hours on 07 3163 3467 or 0414 828 742. For urgent enquiries after hours please contact Mater's Switchboard on 07 3163 8111 to be forwarded to the after hours social worker or pastoral care staff member.

© 2011 Mater Misericordiae Ltd. ACN 096 708 922.

Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-430038
Last modified 21/7/2022.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 28/2/2014
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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