The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
15 October 2021
Extending support for Australian families following infant loss
The Morrison Government is providing $400,000 to fund an extension of the highly regarded Red Nose Hospital to Home Program for a further six months, which provides intensive support to grieving families following the loss of a baby.
Australia is one of the safest places in the world for a baby to be born. Despite this, every year, approximately 2,000 families lose a baby to stillbirth, around 110,000 Australians have a miscarriage and 600 lose their baby in the first 28 days after birth. An estimated 70 per cent of women will experience grief-related depressive symptoms at clinically significant levels one year after stillbirth.
The Hospital to Home Program aims to reduce the likelihood of complications with grief that can lead to mental health issues, poor productivity and other lifelong issues for families that experience the loss of a baby.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the Hospital to Home Program provides support to bereaved parents at a time when they are at most risk of isolation and psychological distress.
“I am pleased to announce this continued funding on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – a day when bereaved parents, families, friends and healthcare workers pause to remember the babies lost through miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death,” Minister Hunt said.
“The pain of the loss does not stop with mothers. It also affects partners and families and has a flow on effect to the community and this extra funding will ensure they can continue to receive the support they need.
The Hospital to Home Program is helping to ensure healthy grieving, increasing the understanding of family, friends and community of the needs of bereaved families, identifying grieving issues early to reduce mental health problems, and supports getting people back to ‘normal’ activities, including work.
The Program also utilises digital platforms – ensuring that families living in rural and remote areas can access support.
As at 30 June 2021, 211 families had been referred to the Hospital to Home Program, with twenty-one per cent of these families living in rural and regional areas.
The Morrison Government is committed to improving health outcomes for mothers and babies to reduce the devastation of pregnancy and infant loss.
We are investing $152.3 million in perinatal services and support measures, including $21.3 million to reduce stillbirth and support families affected by stillbirth. Our aim is to reduce stillbirth by 20 per cent or more by December 2025.
Recognising that preterm birth is a key cause of stillbirth and infant loss, the Government is providing $13.7 million to implement the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance’s program nationally to reduce the rate of preterm birth in Australia.
Our $43.9 million investment in the Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing Program supports families experiencing grief following the death of a child, including as a result of stillbirth.
Many of these initiatives are being delivered in partnership with states and territories, and non-government organisations including Red Nose, the Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence and the Australian Preterm Birth Prevention Alliance.
The Red Nose Hospital to Home Program will continue to be available for families who need support until 30 June 2022.