Aim New national procedures for responding to the unexpected death of a child in England require a joint agency approach to investigate each death and support the bereaved family. As part of a wider population-based study of sudden unexpected deaths in infancy (SUDI) we evaluated the implementation of this approach. Methods A process evaluation was carried out using a population-based study of all unexpected deaths from birth to 2 years in the South West of England between January 2003 and December 2006. Local police and health professionals followed a standardised approach to the investigation of each death, supported by the research team set up to facilitate this joint approach as well as collect data for a wider research project. Results We were notifi ed of 155/157 SUDI, with a median time to notifi cation of 2 h. Initial multi-agency discussions took place in 93.5% of cases. A joint home visit by police offi cers with health professionals was carried out in 117 cases, 75% within 24 h of the death. Time to notifi cation and interview reduced during the 4 years of the study. Autopsies were conducted on all cases, the median time to autopsy being 3 days. At the conclusion of the investigation, a local multi-agency case discussion was held in 88% of cases. The median time for the whole process (including family support) was 5 months. Conclusions This study has demonstrated that with appropriate protocols and support, the joint agency approach to the investigation of unexpected infant deaths can be successfully implemented.
|Translated title of the contribution||Responding to Unexpected Infant Deaths: Experience in One English Region|
|Pages (from-to)||291 - 295|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Archives of Disease in Childhood|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2010|