National Committee on Infant Cremation: code of practice (second edition)

Key principles and minimum standards for all organisations conducting infant cremations, as agreed by the National Committee on Infant Cremation.

Code of Practice Level 2 - Communication


1. This Code sets out minimum standards in both written and verbal communication with those who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. It is extrapolated from the overarching Level 1 Code of Practice, and takes account of existing good practice across all the sectors and organisations involved in infant cremation.

Code of Practice

2. Verbal or written communication with those who have been bereaved will be:

2.1 Sensitive to their feelings at such a difficult time and seek to minimise any additional distress.

2.2 Tailored to individual needs and circumstances.

2.3 Respectful of their right to privacy.

2.4 Clear and straightforward.

2.5 Consistent and aligned with local partners' current practices and procedures.

2.6 Transparent as to all relevant options, practices and procedures, including costs, timeframes, outcomes and any current and future obligations or restrictions on the signatory.

2.7 Clear on what to do, and who to contact and when, if they have a change of mind.

2.8 Accurate in regards to the definition of ashes as 'the material (other than any metal) to which human remains are reduced by cremation'. "Human remains" includes, where remains are clothed, in a coffin or with any other things, the clothing, coffin or other thing.

2.9 Clear as to the probability of recovery and return of ashes following cremation, in order to inform decision-making on, for example, whether to have a shared or individual cremation (for a pre 24 week pregnancy loss); whether to bury or cremate, and choice of coffin.

3. Verbal communication with those who have been bereaved must additionally:

3.1 be free of assumptions about their abilities, views or wishes.

3.2 be in language that can be well understood by all of the bereaved involved in decision- making, with the offer of interpretation services.

3.3 take place in a location that protects the bereaved family's privacy.

4. Written communication with those who have been bereaved must additionally be:

4.1 Consistent with, and where appropriate include relevant extracts from, local partners' leaflets, guidance and policy statements.

4.2 Available in different languages that are used in the local community.

4.3 All written records will be stored and shared in a manner that protects confidentiality.

4.4 Available to them to take away and keep, whether a signed document or a general information leaflet.



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