Objectives, learning outcomes and themes

Scientific committee and programme development

Lead by Prof. Alex Heazell the scientific committee is composed of parents, parents’ advocates and leading healthcare professionals, researchers and other experts from a wide range of disciplines. 18 countries are represented on the committee and about one-third of the members (both professionals and advocates) have personal experience of losing a baby during pregnancy or in the neonatal period.

The committees main objective was to ensure an innovative programme that meets local, regional and global needs. The scientific programme was developed following an open consultation process the scientific committee.

You can read more about the scientific committee members here.


Conference objectives

The 2019 conference will address the most innovative research and clinical practices and focused on 7 overarching objectives, each of which will guide the conference programming:

  1. To promote the provision of healthcare services based on collaboration between parents (advocates), health professionals from multidisciplinary contexts and public health administration.
  2. To promote evidence-based best practices in clinical and bereavement care.
  3. To humanise perinatal bereavement care by increasing awareness and understanding of parents’ needs.
  4. To reduce perinatal mortality through the promotion of prevention strategies and research into mortality risk factors.
  5. To foster the development of research, innovation and dissemination of scientific knowledge on perinatal death and bereavement.
  6. To improve the work-life quality of healthcare professionals and explore their needs.
  7. To reduce the socio-economic costs of perinatal death.


Expected learning outcomes

  1. Delegates will be able to state the rate of perinatal mortality at global and regional level and recent trends in mortality rates
  2. Delegates will be able to identify the main risk factors for perinatal mortality in low, middle and high-income counties
  3. Delegates will be able to specify the most effective strategies for reducing perinatal mortality in low, middle and high-income counties
  4. Delegates will be able to state the main death classification systems for perinatal mortality and why they are important to reducing perinatal death
  5. Delegates will understand the main ways that perinatal mortality and bereavement impacts parents and communities, healthcare workers and society
  6. Delegates will be able to describe the key care standards for providing effective perinatal bereavement care and how care varies between countries
  7. Delegates will be able to state a number of strategies and methods for providing effective perinatal bereavement care in obstetric and neonatal units as well as in primary and emergency care
  8. Delegates will understand the roles that different healthcare professionals play in providing effective perinatal bereavement care
  9. Delegates will understand the key components of perinatal bereavement, as well as its similarities to and differences with other forms of bereavement
  10. Delegates will learn effective strategies for avoiding burnout while providing perinatal bereavement care


Central themes of the conference

  • Collaboration and partnership as fundamental to the provision of high quality bereavement care and effective mortality reduction.
  • Informed choice, shared decision-making and ethics as principles of high quality bereavement care.
  • Collaborative, integrated approaches between healthcare and other public institutions and civil society as key to providing full support for bereaved parents in the short and long-term.


Key conference topics

The conference addresses the following areas:

Main conference themes and topic areas
Parents’ experiences of care - listening to parents and understanding their needs
Improving care quality through the development and implementation of care standards and practice guidelines
Providing perinatal and neonatal palliative care
Care provision following detection of life limiting fetal anomalies (diagnosis, counselling and decision-making, care)
Causes and risk factors for perinatal death
Perinatal mortality prevention strategies
Classification, investigation and audit of perinatal death
Pregnancy after loss
Community based care: follow-up care, support associations and support groups
Perinatal bereavement: personal and social experiences of grief
Woman-centred birth planning and management (communication and decision-making, mode of birth, pain management, sedative use, etc.)
Puerperal care (lactation suppression, milk donation)
Respectful disposition: practices and bioethics in disposition of the body and handling of remains/tissue
The legal framework of stillbirth: legal and social personhood, care legislation, criminalisation
Postpartum care/rituals following intrauterine death or neonatal death (seeing and caring for the baby and keeping memory objects and taking photographs)
Healthcare professionals experiences of perinatal death and systems to support healthcare professionals
The socio-economic impact of perinatal death
Diagnosis and communication of bad news