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Supporting staff after an adverse event

Illustration of two people sitting in armchairs faced opposite each other - one is handing the other a cup of tea. Image is black & white with a green circular mat under the two chairs

What is this project about?

Supporting maternity care staff in the aftermath of an adverse event: Development and pilot testing of a scalable psychosocial intervention

Staff in maternity care settings are often involved in or exposed to adverse events, such as perinatal and/or maternal death, or neonatal encephalopathy. In Ireland, these events are not uncommon; there were 357 perinatal deaths in 2021, 11 maternal deaths during 2019-2021, and 76 cases of mothers and their infants who required therapeutic hypothermia (total body cooling) following a diagnosis of neonatal encephalopathy in 2020.

Adverse events can have serious psychological and emotional impacts on all involved. While staff have voiced a need for more support and the development of effective interventions, little is known about how best to provide such support within maternity settings. Through this project, we will develop and pilot test a psychosocial intervention for staff in maternity hospitals/units in Ireland.

What is involved?

  • Study 1: Scoping review of psychosocial interventions for staff in maternity hospitals/settings
  • Study 2: Surveys and interviews with staff in the 19 maternity hospitals/units in Ireland to explore the barriers and facilitators to implementing such interventions
  • Study 3: Development/adaptation of an intervention using co-design, and pilot testing of this intervention on in three maternity units/hospitals.

Who is involved?

Project team

Name Affiliation Role
Marita Hennessy PhD Pregnancy Loss Research Group  Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Professor Keelin O'Donoghue Pregnancy Loss Research Group  Mentor

Dissemination activities

Press release

News item

Project status

Ongoing: December 2023 to November 2025

Further information

Please email Marita Hennessy PhD:


Irish Research Council [GOIPD/2023/1168]

Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Pregnancy Loss Research Group, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University College Cork, Fifth Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork, T12 YE02, Ireland,