A refurbished maternity bereavement suite has opened at the Royal Preston Hospital for parents who experience baby loss. Due to the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the suite was opened at a small gathering of maternity staff and the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Director on Wednesday, and is now available to use for bereaved families. Located in a quieter area of the Delivery Suite, to minimise the distress of coming into contact with other mums and their new-borns, the soundproofed room provides families with a private and safe space to grieve the loss of their baby following miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. The project, which started over two years ago, was led by families who have been affected by the loss of a baby. Through the Trust’s Maternity Voices Partnership, families shared their own personal experiences to help improve the environment for future bereaved families by suggesting a range of improvements.
The Maternity Voices Partnership from the start has represented the voices of those who have sadly not been able to take their babies home. The design includes a fitted kitchen and bathroom area, a relaxed seating space, an integrated double bed, and a separate nursery area which has a cuddle cot and provides a place for quiet reflection. Other features include a woodland mural – chosen by bereaved families in an online poll and wave flooring to visually separate the areas in the suite. Sarah Cullen, Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I would like to thank all those who helped fund the restoration of our maternity bereavement suite – especially our bereaved families, who co-designed the area and added their own touch to such a personal space. The loss of a baby is a devastating tragedy and I hope our bereavement suite allows our families the time, space and peace they need in coming to terms with their loss.” Joanne Lambert, Matron for Complex Midwifery Care, said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to open our bereavement suite for families who have experienced late miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Whilst we know that we can never take away the devastation that losing a baby brings, we only hope that this suite can provide a place of comfort and quiet for parents to spend time together as a family. Cathy Skidmore, Baby Beat Manager, said: “We are proud to fund this vital project which will make a big difference to parents who have very sadly suffered the loss of their baby. We hope the room will be a space where families can find comfort and peace and allow precious time with their baby away from a busy maternity ward.” The Trust would like to thank all of those who helped fund the suite: Baby Beat, Little Teds, the Linen Company Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund; Harold and Alice Bridges Charity; The Hospital Saturday Fund; The Medicash Foundation; Isabella Rose Foundation; Lizzy Davidson and Ross Green. Images of the new suite are below: