- » Overview
- » Information for health professionals
- » Bereavement Care Network for Practitioners - 2010
- » The Sands Guidelines 2007
- » Resources for health professionals
- » Links to Other Organisations
2007 edition of the Sands Guidelines
Since the Sands Guidelines were first published in 1991, they have been widely recognised as an essential benchmark for good practice when caring for parents who have a pregnancy loss, a stillbirth or the death of a baby at birth or shortly afterwards.
The 2007 edition builds on the foundations laid down in previous editions. It is based on research findings and on widespread discussions with a broad range of health professionals, bereaved parents and relevant voluntary organisations.
The Sands Guidelines are supported by
- The Royal College of Obstetricans and Gynaecologists
and have been endorsed by:
- The Royal College of Midwives
- The Royal College of Nursing
- The Royal College of Pathologists
- The Perinatal Institute for maternal and child health
- ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices)
To order copies of the Guidelines please go to Publications
The 2007 Guidelines deal with losses at every stage of pregnancy:
- Termination of pregnancy for personal reasons
- Early miscarriage including missed miscarriage, anembryonic pregnancy and molar pregnancy
- Late miscarriage
- Termination for fetal abnormality
- Continuing the pregnancy when the baby has a lethal abnormality
- Intra-uterine death
- Care for very premature or ill babies who are likely to die shortly after birth
The material has been re-organised to enable health professionals to access the sections that are relevant to their particular area of work.
New chapters have been added and include:
- Loss and grief
- Communication skills
- Communication across language and other barriers
- Antenatal screening, diagnostic tests and procedures
The Principles of Good Practice have been expanded and there is specific guidance for Trusts, Health Boards and Managers, and for GP Practices
Style and Approach
The Guidelines offer:
- Research based information
- Examples of best practice
- Information about what parents need and find helpful
- Practical guidance on how to identify and meet individual needs
- Information about the relevant regulations and laws (UK only)
The possible needs of parents of minority cultural and religious groups are included throughout as these are the parents who are most likely to experience a childbearing loss.
Parents' quotes are used to illustrate the text and to increase the reader's understanding of the depth and intensity of parents' feelings and needs.
The layout is designed to make it easy for professionals to find the chapters that are relevant to their area of work.
'These Guidelines cover all aspects of bereavement from early pregnancy to neonatal loss. They are written in a non-judgemental manner, combining poignant quotes from bereaved parents and grandparents with practical advice that is vital to anyone involved in the care of the bereaved. To now find all the relevant information required in one book is a marvellous achievement for which the authors should be congratulated. In my view these Guidelines should be essential reading for anyone involved in the care of the bereaved family: that means anyone involved in obstetrics, gynaecology and neonatology.'
Mr Bill Martin, Consultant in Fetal Medicine, Birmingham Women's Hospital
'The new Sands Guidelines are essential reading for all midwives. They are written in a practical and down to earth way and will be invaluable in helping midwives to negotiate the demanding task of caring for parents who have lost their baby whatever the circumstances or gestation.'
Sue Frame, Midwife & Bereavement Counsellor
'These Guidelines are a comprehensive easy to read guide for all health professionals caring for women experiencing early pregnancy loss. Covering issues ranging from communication, screening tests, early and late gestation pregnancy loss through to termination of pregnancy, funerals and sensitive disposal, they are a 'must' for all professionals working within this field.'
Joanne Fletcher, Consultant Nurse Gynaecology, Royal Hallamshire Hospital
About the authors
Judith Schott is a freelance writer and trainer on health issues. Working under the name PROSPECT, she runs workshops throughout the UK for health professionals at all levels, on a range of topics including cultural and religious aspects of health care, and on pregnancy loss and the death of a baby. She is co-author with Judy Priest of Leading Antenatal Classes: a practical guide (Books for Midwives 2002). She lives in London.
Alix Henley is a freelance writer and consultant. She has a particular interest in communication between health professionals and service users, and in equal opportunity issues. Her books inlcude When a baby dies: the experience of late miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death, written with Nancy Kohner (Routledge 2001). She lives in Switzerland.
Together Judith and Alix have written:
Culture, religion and childbearing in a multiracial society: a handbook for health professionals (Butterworth Heinemann 1996)
Culture, religion and patient care in a multi-ethnic society: a handbook for health professionals (ACE Books 1999), and
Breaking the barriers: a training package on equal access to maternity services (Bloomsbury and Islington Health Authority 1992).
Nancy Kohner was an advisor to Sands for many years and worked closely with bereaved parents and the professionals who cared for them. She also advised government and professional organisations on perinatal loss, bereavement care, sensitive disposal, the disposal of retained organs and other issues. She was the author of previous editions of the Guidelines and wrote and collaborated on a large number of other publications including When a baby dies: the experience of late miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death with Alix Henley, and training materials for professionals. Nancy died in 2006.