Donations Needed To Help Grieving Parents

By furnishing West Middlsex hospital's bereavement room

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On the first anniversary of its creation, the bereavement service at the West Middlesex Hospital is asking the local community for donations to help furnish a bereavement room for grieving parents.

A report out this week from the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity (SANDs) has shown that more than half the maternity units in the UK do not have a dedicated bereavement support midwife or a dedicated room for grieving parents.

At West Mid, we have had a bereavement service since July 2009, and within six months, it was nominated for the prestigious Royal College of Midwives National Maternity Support Foundation Award for Bereavement Care (pipped to the prize only by a much larger and more well-established service in Newcastle).

Bereavement midwife, Julia Lidderdale, said “Since being short listed for the R.C.M award, our bereavement service has developed extremely quickly. When I was appointed a year ago we identified a space straight away, which would be dedicated as a bereavement room. This is now completed structurally. We just need to add the right soft furnishings and finishing touches to create the best environment possible for our families who have or who are losing a pregnancy.

“As well as this our improved pregnancy loss aftercare clinic now includes the Obstetric Consultant and myself, so that we can see families jointly. This maximises the emotional support we can offer to our families and ensures that people are introduced to our counselling service. We also have great links with local outside agencies such as Hounslow Bereavement services and West London SANDs who we regularly refer our families to for further support.

“We realise that the effects of losing a pregnancy should never be underestimated. Research shows a higher occurrence of post traumatic stress disorder, depression & other pathologies requiring ongoing psychiatric and emotional support.”

Colette Murphy of West London SANDs, added “with one in five pregnancies lost, we hope that West Mid will be an example of a great service for those who have suffered such a tragic loss”.

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August 3, 2010