A dedicated bereavement suite at the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital to help parents facing the stillbirth of their baby has been transformed with new equipment, thanks to donations.
It is a delivery room specially equipped to provide a home-from-home environment, giving parents private time with their child after the birth.
Thanks to the generosity of parents, families and support groups, the suite has a number of items which help to provide a calm and homely environment, as well as some pieces of specialist equipment.
A double sofabed and other “home” furnishings to help create a more comfortable and less clinical environment for the family to spend time in following the birth
Three Cuddle Cots – special refrigerated cots which cool the baby and enable parents and families to spend more time with the infant.
A selection of baby clothes in different sizes, specially designed for babies born sleeping.
Moses baskets of different sizes, so each infant has somewhere special to lay
A small kitchen area where parents and families can keep and prepare food whilst they are in the suite.
A range of books with information and personal stories about the loss of a child, designed to offer comfort and support to grieving families and siblings.
Chairman of the Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Simon Linnett, met with parents, families and supporters of the bereavement suite recently to thank them for their donations and support.
Simon said: “The generous donations we have received have enabled us to transform the suite into a more homely and comforting environment.
“Unfortunately, some families will have a baby born sleeping, but this room will allow them the space and dignity to spend time with their child and say goodbye. We are enormously grateful to all our supporters who continue to make this possible.”
L&D midwife Tracey McGrath has extensive experience of caring for parents whose baby has been born sleeping.
She said: “The suite gives people the chance to be a parent to their sleeping baby for a time. However short or long a time this is, it is an incredibly important part of helping everyone come to terms with what has happened, and to feel that their child has been part of their lives. By providing home comforts and specialist equipment in the suite, we are able to make that time a little more bearable.”
Tracey added: “Our support for families who have had a baby born sleeping does not end when they go home after the birth. We continue to work with families for weeks, months and years to come, and hopefully to support them as and when they are able to have another child. Almost everything we have done with the suite has been in response to suggestions and requests from the families who have used it, and we are immensely grateful for their continued support and encouragement.”
Parents, families and supporters have already raised over £10,000 for the bereavement suite at the L&D. Other organisations providing support include:
SANDS – The national stillbirth and neonatal death charity
CHUMS – The national child bereavement and trauma service
4Louis – A charity which provides free memory boxes for bereaved parents and families to collect and keep memories of their child