Infant Journal
for neonatal and paediatric healthcare professionals

When should a neonatal death be referred to the coroner? Initiation of a guideline to aid decision making

Despite improved survival, particularly for extremely preterm infants, sadly some neonates die. When this happens, it may be appropriate to refer the death to the coroner, however, there is huge variation in practice between settings regarding the coroner referral process. After a particular case concerning several hospitals, we reviewed available evidence and produced a guideline to aid this process, involving both neonatologists and our coroner’s office, and including parental concerns. This has enabled a systematic, transparent approach that is equal for all infants.

Narendra Aladangady
FRCPCH, PhD
Consultant Neonatologist and Honorary Clinical Professor in Child Health, Neonatal Unit, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, and Queen Mary University of London
n.aladangady@nhs.net

Philippa Chisholm
FRCPCH
Consultant Neonatologist, Neonatal Unit, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London

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Keywords
neonatal staff education; Better Births; neonatal parent voice; family-integrated care; parent experience
Key points
  1. Involving neonatal families is at the heart of neonatal care.
  2. Lincolnshire was the first LMNS to ensure the voice of neonatal parents was acted upon as part of the Maternity Transformation Programme.
  3. Feedback from families within a structured framework enhances and addresses safety and quality.
  4. Co-production and collaboration with professionals across the whole system is necessary for success of the neonatal pathway.

Also published in Infant:

VOLUME 17/ISSUE 2, MARCH 2021
Parental access to neonatal units: inconsistency during the COVID-19 pandemic
An electronic survey was conducted to determine policy changes to parental access on neonatal units during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. The survey found that all responding units changed their policies and in many, parents were not allowed to visit their baby together. The survey highlights potential negative effects these policy changes are having on babies, their families and neonatal staff. Allowing parents to spend time with their baby together in a safe way during this pandemic should be a priority in neonatal care and this article considers ways in which the neonatal team can support this.

Read more...