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PP.69 Factors That Influence Clinicians in Their Care of Families Who Experience Stillbirth
  1. AM Verling2,
  2. O O’Connell2,
  3. K O’Donoghue1
  1. 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Cork University Maternity Hospital, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Ireland


Objective Surveys of clinicians are important in Health Service research. Previous surveys have noticed a strong reluctance of doctors to know, notice or remember anything about patients who have experienced a stillbirth. Are attitudes of clinicians to stillbirth created by lack of training, education, personal experience or clinical experience? We wanted to find out what influences clinicians in their care of women and their families at the time of stillbirth.

Study design Clinicians, including junior and senior trainees, consultants and specialists were surveyed. We asked questions to elicit in-depth information on their knowledge of factual details of stillbirth cases and bereavement services available. We also questioned their personal experiences and feelings when dealing with bereaved families. Finally, we examined the impact caring for this patient group had on clinicians. Anonymised data was analysed.

Results Clinicians (90%), whether senior or junior, agreed that caring for women who experience stillbirth takes an emotional toll personally. Talking to senior colleagues or friends/family was used to cope with the impact. Only 71% could remember details of a patient who experienced stillbirth in the last year, and many were unclear on details of routine hospital bereavement care. Of the group surveyed, 14% strongly agreed that they had received adequate training to cope with stillbirth. Half had personal experience of perinatal death, while a third were parents themselves.

Conclusion Clinicians feel this patient group are challenging and should have support in this area of work. There is a continual need for staff education and training.

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