Bereavement Suite opens

A new unit for bereaved parents who have suffered miscarriages and stillborn births has opened at the William Harvey Hospital.

The unit will provide a space where bereaved families can stay within the hospital, away from the maternity ward, to spend time with their babies in an environment that is close enough to the medical team, but away from the families who are celebrating the birth of a baby. 

The new 'Twinkling Stars' suite will provide women and their families with a little oasis of peace and calm at a very difficult time in their lives. 

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.

Parents need a place where they can receive vital physical and psychological support. The suite enables parents to have time together in early labour and following delivery. It is located close to the delivery suite to enable on-going care from midwifery staff, but with the facilities of double bed, bathroom and kitchenette provides a private and quiet space to spend time as a family, with the opportunity to have baby by the bedside in one of our cold cots according to parents’ individual wishes.

A memory box for keepsakes, along with personalised memory booklet is provided by staff, and parents are supported to help create memories through time with the baby, taking hand and footprints as well as photographs if wanted.

Twinkling stars was launched by sisters Charlotte Bassett-Rogers, Georgina Varnals and Leigh Knight after Charlotte's baby Blake was born stillborn at 25 weeks in September 2014. 

Charlotte had to recover on the busy maternity ward, surrounded by joyful parents. Charlotte and her sisters began fundraising and collected a staggering £25,000. 

Rupert Williamson, fundraising Manager for East Kent Hospitals Charity, said: "To all the supporters, from individuals, staff members, companies, charities to Highworth Grammar School, Kent Police, Furniture Village and the Danny Hall Foundation, we say a very big thank you."