Sarah Green from Sands, Lesley Bradfield from TimeNorfolk and Jenny Whatling at the new bereavement suite – photo supplied
A new bereavement suite for families experiencing baby loss has been created at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, thanks to charitable donations from local families and fundraisers.
The bereavement suite enables parents and family members who have lost a baby to have precious time together and to make memories.
The Meadow Suite has its own entrance with the facilities of a double bed and bathroom, providing a private and quiet space to spend time as a family, with the opportunity to have baby by the bedside. Other members of the family can also join the parents in a separate seating area and kitchenette adjacent to the delivery room. The suite is located close to the delivery suite to enable on-going care from midwifery staff.
Kari Kordtomeikel, NNUH Bereavement Midwife, said: “When baby loss occurs the impact is devastating for women, their partners and the wider family, including grandparents. A designated room is needed so that when a mother loses a baby either suddenly at birth, or is having an induction of labour due to the baby dying in the womb, we can provide a room which is both clinically set up for the birth of the baby as well as provide a comfortable atmosphere where parents can mourn their loss in private in a dignified setting.
“Many parents wish to stay with their baby for some time using cuddle cots which cool the baby, and allow other members of the family to meet the baby in a quiet and private space.
“We have involved bereaved families from the Norfolk and Norwich Baby Bereavement Group in choosing the colour schemes for the suite and artwork for the walls. Many of those we spoke to also helped us with our fundraising and we are very grateful for all their contributions.”
The charitable donations for the Bereavement Suite have been generously provided by local families and friends in addition to funds donated by Sands, TimeNorfolk and 4LOUIS. Donations to the Baby Bereavement Appeal will continue to resource and maintain the Bereavement Suite as well as ongoing support for our families.
The hospital is signed up to the National Bereavement Care Pathway (NBCP) for pregnancy and baby loss backed by Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity). This pioneering project aims to improve the overall quality of bereavement care for parents and families whose baby has died before, during or shortly after birth. The hospital’s bereavement pathway covers miscarriage, termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormalities and baby loss up to first year of life.
The role of the Bereavement Midwife is to support families and work across gynaecology and midwifery services, linking with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to support women and families who have experienced baby loss. She co-ordinates care for women and guides families through the formalities which need to be completed following baby loss. She also trains other staff to provide sensitive, parent-centred care, being a source of information on best practice and linking with charities such as Sands.