Importance of palliative care
Tom McEwan, Principal Educator (Midwifery) for NHS Education for Scotland, discusses how CW+'s Neonatal Palliative Care Project is a critical initiative for midwives
The CW+'s Neonatal Palliative Care Project has developed from a partnership between Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and The True Colours Trust. The London-based project began in 2015 and was formally evaluated in 2020, with the key recommendation of consolidating the learning and progress from this pilot project to ensure a sustainable roll-out of this activity across all Operational Delivery Networks in England and the devolved nations, and to provide training and development of the neonatal and maternity workforce (Pinney, 2020). In the immediate term, this will be rolled out across three regions in England over the next three years and will be further evaluated.
This successful pilot in London has also seen the appointment of the first National Lead Nurse in Neonatal Palliative Care (NPC), Alex Mancini-Smith, the appointment of which was also a recommendation of the Neonatal Critical Care Review (NHS England and NHS Improvement, 2019). Although this is an emerging specialism within neonatal care, Alex has been advocating for the importance of palliative care on neonatal units for the last two decades, culminating more recently in virtual, multidisciplinary training and mentorship during the COVID-19 pandemic. This work has been underpinned by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (2010) Palliative Care Framework, which sets out the categories of care that may be required.
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