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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Coronavirus / COVID-19

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Important information about our services and restrictions on visiting our hospitals can be found in the COVID-19 section.

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Bereavement Service

The Bereavement Service is here to offer practical and emotional support to the immediate family or next of kin of anyone who dies as a patient of the Trust.

March 2020 - COVID-19 update

Unfortunately, we are only able to offer a reduced service at present.

From Monday 23 March 2020 we will be unable to offer Bereavement appointments to families, but we do have a plan in place to ensure that any potential delay in paperwork is kept to a minimum.

We will still be available for you to speak to about any concerns and answer questions about the process of registering a death, and what information you will need.

Not all offices have a member of staff permanently present, as staff move between sites as required, but all answerphones are checked on a regular basis, so please do leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

We work closely with the Coroner's Service, the Oxfordshire Registration Service and local funeral directors to ensure that the bereaved have access to all the information and services they need, and this will continue.

When necessary, we will refer families to the appropriate Coroner's Officer.

Leaflet: Bereavement Services - what happens next? (pdf)

Viewings

We are currently unable to provide a viewing service unless there are exceptional circumstances. Funeral directors are best placed to provide this service

Death registration

From Monday 23 March 2020 we will be unable to offer death registration at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

This will also apply to any Time Critical Releases to allow for religious / cultural burials to take place as soon as possible. These will need to be registered in Oxford, but please, make an appointment in advance, do not just turn up.

Book an appointment via this link:

Registering a death - www.oxfordshire.gov.uk

Alternatively, to book an appointment please call: 0345 241 2489

Contact us

All offices provide a service Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays.

John Radcliffe Hospital

Tel: 01865 220110 8.00am - 5.00pm (4.30pm Friday)

Churchill Hospital

Tel: 01865 225022 8.00am - 4.00pm

Horton General Hospital

Tel: 01295 229386 8.00am - 4.00pm

Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre

Please contact us via our John Radcliffe Hospital number: 01865 220110

Important information

For families who have experienced a bereavement

There are a number of things that need to happen before we can issue you with a Medical Certificate Certifying Death (MCCD), so please do not make your way to the hospital before you receive a call from our Bereavement Officer to make an appointment.

What needs to happen before you receive an appointment to collect the death certificate

Families can expect initially to receive a holding call from the Bereavement Office to advise them we have received the paperwork from the wards and that the process of producing the Medical Certificate Certifying Death (MCCD) has started.

This will be on Monday if the death occurs after office hours on Friday or on Tuesday if after a bank holiday weekend. If death occurs during the night we will delay ringing you until later in the day.

If the deceased:

  • was admitted due to a fall
  • was admitted as a result of an unnatural event (i.e. a road traffic accident, assault etc.)
  • underwent a procedure that required a general anaesthetic

there will need to be a referral to the Coroner, so there may be a slight delay in being offered an appointment with us, but please be assured we will keep in touch with you.

The Bereavement Office will make every effort to keep these delays to a minimum, as we know this is an anxious and stressful time for all involved.

Appointments to view a person who has died may be possible, but only during Bereavement Service opening times (not weekends).

Unfortunately, we are not always able to accommodate requests for viewings, as our viewing facilities are also used by the Coroner's office and the Police.

Information for families

When you come to us for your appointment we will give you an information pack you may find helpful and which may answer some of your questions.

We have leaflets for families which give details of specialist support services, and also offer leaflets by other agencies, such as 'What to do after a death', and the SF200 claim form for help with the cost of a funeral for bereaved families who receive qualifying benefits.

Post mortems and retained organs

If you have experienced the death of a loved one in the past, and think a post mortem examination was carried out in Oxford and are worried that organs or tissue may have been retained, you are welcome to contact us.

Please call Gaynor Parsons, Bereavement Service Manager on the number below.

Tel: 01865 572688

Bereavement services following late miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death

A specialist bereavement midwife and a dedicated team provide care and support for women and their families following pregnancy loss from around 12 weeks onwards.

This includes babies who have sadly died shortly after birth.

If you have suffered a loss, we will usually care for you in a dedicated bereavement suite, where partners are also encouraged to stay.

Support with registration requirements, information relating to funerals and emotional support through the whole process is offered.

Bereavement information packs are also provided by Oxfordshire Stillbirth and Neonatal Death (Sands) in addition to hospital information leaflets.

Leaflets

Following the loss of your baby. What to expect when you leave hospital - taking care of your physical wellbeing (pdf)

What should I do now? Advice and support following the loss of your baby (pdf)

If you would like to talk to someone for more information, please do contact us - details below.

Paula Gallacher
Bereavement Specialist Midwife
John Radcliffe Hospital

Tel: 01865 227778

Paula Gallacher is the Bereavement Specialist Midwife at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

If you feel that you need further support after you have left the hospital, please contact Paula.

She works closely with bereaved families to offer practical and emotional support, and can direct families to 'Petals', the specialist counselling service available.

John Radcliffe Maternity Ashfield Fund

The Ashfield Fund, part of Oxford Hospitals Charity, is based at the John Radcliffe Hospital and helps to care for women and their families when they have lost a baby late in pregnancy or shortly after giving birth.

The Fund helps to support the bereavement suites, funds specialist counselling for families, and provides items which enable parents to spend a little more time with their baby and create lasting and tangible memories.

If you would like to support this worthwhile cause, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/maternityashfieldtrust

Petals

Petals is a charity that provides a free specialist counselling service for women and their partners following stillbirth, neonatal death, late miscarriage and termination of pregnancy following fetal abnormalities.

Please contact them to find out more:

Learning from Bereaved Families' experiences

The Maternity Bereavement Experience Measure (MBEM) questionnaire is now given to parents at their Consultant follow-up appointment.

Maternity Bereavement Experience Measure (MBEM) questionnaire (Word, 64 KB)

Letter from Bereavement Specialist Midwife (pdf, 167 KB)

If you do not receive a copy, please either download the questionnaire above, and post it back to us at:

Patient Experience Team (MBEM)
Stable Block, John Radcliffe Hospital
Headington OX3 9DU

or email it to paula.gallacher@ouh.nhs.uk

For more information about this, please read the document at the link below:

Learning from Bereaved Families' experiences (pdf, 197 KB)

Finding a Rainbow Project

A 'rainbow baby' is a baby born following the loss of another baby. A rainbow is something beautiful that follows a storm, and, while it doesn't deny the storm, it offers beauty and hope of brighter days to come.

Charity 'Kicks Count' has created helpful bundles for families, both parents and siblings, in organic cotton rainbow bags.

Full details can be found at www.kickscount.org.uk/rainbow

To claim a bundle for your family, contact Paula Gallacher for your unique reference code.

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