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National stillbirth charity approves of King's Lynn hospital's bereavement plans

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A national stillbirth charity has expressed its approval for the new Maternity Bereavement Suite plans at Lynn’s hospital.

Helen Butlin, bereavement support services manager at Sands (stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said a dedicated space for grieving parents “sets the tone” for the entire bereavement journey.

And she said it was “really encouraging” to hear Lynn News readers had voted for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s suite fundraiser as the Charity of the Year 2020.

Picture: Sands
Picture: Sands

Mrs Butlin said: “This kind of recognition in the community is really important for people who have experienced a loss of a child so they do not feel left alone.”

Sands is trying to reduce the stigma surrounding stillbirth but Mrs Butlin believes awareness of the deaths has increased in the last three years.

Over the last 40 years, Sands has grown into a national charity which promotes and funds research to better understand the causes of baby deaths and to help save babies’ lives.

Picture: Sands
Picture: Sands

It provides bereavement support services both nationally through its free phone helpline, mobile app, online resources, and locally through a network of around 100 regional support groups.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has set a fundraising target of £185,000 to build the suite, and Sands have said it is essential every hospital has a dedicated facility for parents.

Mrs Butlin said: “A lot of parents tell us that having the opportunity to spend time with their baby and make memories is important, or it is important to have a safe space as it is very difficult thing to go through.”

Charity of the Year 2020 - QEH Maternity Unit Bereavement Suite logo (30293014)
Charity of the Year 2020 - QEH Maternity Unit Bereavement Suite logo (30293014)

She added that it is based on the individual’s preference, but many will take up the offer of a memory box to remember the child they lost.

These can consist of hand and footprints of a child which a midwife oversees.

Certificates of birth, photos, teddy bears, memorial jewellery and tattoos, as well as the blanket the child was wrapped in can all be important momentos.

Mrs Butlin said: “Some people won’t know their baby won’t be alive when it’s born. It’s a shock to them as it happens very quickly and they are not prepared for it.”

To help contribute to the appeal, head to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/qehmaternity

For more information on Sands, visit www.sands.org.uk

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