Creating Evidence: Findings from a Grounded Theory of Memory-Making in Neonatal Bereavement Care in Australia

J Pediatr Nurs. 2020 Jul-Aug;53:29-35. doi: 10.1016/j.pedn.2020.04.006. Epub 2020 Apr 25.


Purpose: Perinatal and neonatal palliative care guidelines recommend the provision of photographs and other mementos as an element of care for parents bereaved by neonatal loss. However, little is known about parents' perceptions of such bereavement interventions. This study explored the significance of memory-making for bereaved parents and the impact of memory-making on parents' experience of loss following neonatal loss.

Design and methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 18 bereaved parents. A grounded theory approach informed by Corbin and Strauss was used to underpin data sampling, data collection and data analysis. A constant comparative approach was used to engage in open, axial and selective coding to distil parents' stories into categories supporting a core concept.

Results: "Creating evidence" emerged as a key theme in the grounded theory of memory-making in bereavement care for parents following neonatal loss. Creating evidence involved taking photographs, creating mementos, as well as involving friends and family during the baby's time in the Neonatal Unit.

Conclusions: Creating evidence affirmed the life of the baby and the role of the parents. Creating evidence was a significant element of memory-making that had a positive impact on parents' experience of bereavement.

Practice implications: Parents should be supported to create evidence of their baby's life, through taking photos, creating mementos, and involving others in their baby's care. Such interventions provide affirmation of the baby's life and of the individual's role as a parent.

Keywords: Bereavement; Infant, newborn; Memory-making; Parent; Photography.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Bereavement*
  • Female
  • Grief
  • Grounded Theory
  • Hospice Care*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Parents
  • Pregnancy