Bereavement suite is vital for Queen Elizabeth Hospital's maternity unit
Readers are being urged to support a fundraising appeal for a new Maternity Bereavement Suite at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital after it was chosen as the Lynn News Charity of the Year.
Kate Jackman, the hospital’s general manager for women and children, said £185,000 is needed to create the dedicated space for parents who have lost babies, which can be achieved with the public’s backing.
She said: “The dedicated space will include a nursery and partner facilities which will provide a private and comfortable environment.
“This will ensure parents have the maximum opportunity to create precious memories whilst spending unlimited time as a family.”
Her colleague, bereavement midwife Sharon Younge, said: “Bereavement is with the families for the rest of their lives, they remember this and it does not ever go away. It’s lifelong so we have to get it right.”
The hospital trust started fundraising for the new suite after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection in 2018 which stated the current room is inappropriate as it is situated next to women celebrating pregnancies.
SANDS, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, also stated every hospital should have a dedicated room.
Three phases are being earmarked for the new suite, which will include a suitable space for blessing and naming ceremonies.
Mrs Jackman explained this would include a single exit so people would not have to return through the delivery suite when leaving.
As part of the plans, the hospital would also need to move a pool and partner’s toilet to accommodate the new suite.
Mrs Jackman added:“We just need to think about the ladies that are labouring while that work is going on to cause minimum disruption.”
A family, who experienced the loss of a child at the hospital, said: “We arrived unexpectedly as my partner went into labour as we were travelling through the area.
“Sadly, a heartbeat could not be found and our little girl was stillborn.
“Every member of staff, in A&E and the delivery suite made every effort they could to make the experience the least difficult it could be.
“Everyone had the utmost respect and care for us and our baby and I am so grateful of that, as is my partner.
“It's been such a whirlwind but the Ward Manager and her team went above and beyond.
“Everyone has shown exceptional levels of compassion in an unimaginable situation. A stillbirth is no doubt a hard day in the office for midwives and everyone involved but not once did we see that whilst here.
“The support offered to us was incredible and while losing my daughter in this way is the single most painful day in my life the care from your team was the very best I have had as an adult under the NHS - thank you all.”
On the fundraising total for the suite, Kate Jackman said: “That covers all the enabling works and what we want to put into the bereavement suite.
“We have had some patient involvement as to what those plans look like and what’s in there. There is a seated area and a nursery cot area.
“It’s also about thinking what the lighting will be in there, thinking really down to the fine details of artwork on the wall.
“You do not want it to be something that someone is going to see when they go and stay in a hotel, so we would really like a local artist to do something.”
A timescale has not been set on when the developments will start as funding needs to be secured.
However, Mrs Jackman said: “The plans are all drawn up. They have all been through the quantity surveyor, they will be good to go once we see enough money to be able to start.”
To donate, head to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/qehmaternitybereavementsuite
More by this authorBen Hardy