Objective: to explore attitudes towards perinatal bereavement care among midwives working in Hong Kong through examination of relationships between attitudes towards bereavement support, need for bereavement education and appropriate hospital policy.
Design: a descriptive correlational survey.
Setting: the obstetric and gynaecology units at two hospitals.
Instrument: a structured self-report questionnaire on attitudes towards perinatal bereavement support; required support and education needs for midwives on bereavement care.
Participants: 154 out of 202 midwives (76.2% response rate) working at the two units.
Findings: two-step cluster analysis yielded two clusters. Cluster 1 consisted of 91 (59.1%) midwives and cluster 2 consisted of 63 (40.9%) midwives. Cluster 2 midwives were younger, had less obstetric and gynaecology experience, junior ranking and less post-qualification education than cluster 1 midwives. Cluster 1 midwives had additional personal grieving experiences and experience of caring for grieving parents. Attitudes towards bereavement care were positively correlated with educational needs (r(s)=0.55, p< 0.001) and hospital policy support (r(s)=0.50, p< 0.001).
Conclusions: Hong Kong midwives require increased bereavement care knowledge and experience, improved communication skills, and greater hospital and team member support. Findings may be used to improve support of midwives, to ensure sensitive bereavement care in perinatal settings and to reflect training needs in the midwifery education curricula. Study findings highlight the universality of grief for a lost baby, irrespective of cultural differences in approaching emotional topics. This study may help midwives internationally to gain a broader perspective in this area.