A new maternity bereavement suite received its official opening at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) in Margate on Monday 9 October.
East Kent Hospitals Charity has supported the project, known as ‘Precious Memories’. The charity project has cost over £100,000 and would not have been possible without the fundraising support and donations from families and local businesses which has gone towards the suite’s development.
Present at the opening were Gill and Adrian Child, whose son Remy died during the early stages of labour in May 2015. They cut the ribbon for the opening, along with Jessica and Aaron Young whose son Oliver died shortly after birth at the QEQM in March 2016.
Through their experience, both sets of parents were made aware of the need for parents in a similar situation have a need to be apart from the usual activities of a maternity department.
This gave rise to the ‘Precious Memories’ appeal, which has resulted in a dedicated suite, giving families the privacy and comfort they need to help them through such a traumatic time.
Soundproof walls also ensure that parents are not exposed to the sound of crying babies and other families celebrating the birth of their child. Calming colours and quality soft furnishings set the theme for the suite, which is complete with kitchenette, en-suite bathroom and a separate entrance and exit from the maternity ward.
East Kent Hospitals’ bereavement lead midwife, Emmeline Powell said: “Sadly, throughout the country, more than 100 babies die each week before, during or soon after birth. The grief experienced by the women and their families is profound and this is why the bereavement suite is so important.
Abigail Burgess, who is also an East Kent Hospitals’ bereavement lead midwife, said: “Parents need a place where they can receive vital physical and psychological support. It’s also a place of sanctuary where they can be in a peaceful and private environment, but within reach of the maternity team giving their care.”
East Kent Hospitals Charity is also supporting the ‘Twinkling Stars’ bereavement suite project at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
The opening of the bereavement suite at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital was timed to coincide with Baby Loss Awareness Week.
East Kent Hospitals’ maternity team is working hard to improve the care that local mums and babies receive in our Trust. The Trust has developed a Maternity Transformation Programme.
The programme, called ‘BESTT – Birthing excellence: success through teamwork’, aims to reduce the number of stillbirths, admissions to neonatal intensive care, and skin tears during delivery by the end of next year.