The bereavement suite at Hereford County Hospital opened on 27 July 2019 following a successful public fundraising campaign which totalled just over £100,000, including donations from local charities.
It provides bereaved parents and their families a private sanctuary to use as they come to terms with the loss of their baby.
About the fundraising campaign
In December 2017, Wye Valley NHS Trust embarked on a fundraising appeal to improve the maternity bereavement facilities, services and aftercare support provided at Hereford County Hospital.
A project group was formed to oversee the project. This included patient representatives to look at existing practices and procedures to ensure the new facility offered meets the needs of bereaved families and continually developed, reviewed and improved.
The vision was set out in three stages.
The first stage was to provide a separate counselling room (to be situated at the end of the second floor corridor) to allow families a separate space for breaking bad news, waiting for appointments and provide a general waiting area to ensure that women don’t have to sit among expectant mothers in the women’s health outpatients department.
The second phase was to create a room to provide overnight accommodation for a bereaved family and their baby, located away from the delivery suite and maternity ward, and to be fitted with facilities including an en-suite bathroom, two adult beds, a cuddle cot and equipment to make drinks.
The last phase saw the creation of a non-clinical and appropriate setting for mothers to deliver their babies in by refurbishing one of the existing delivery rooms and sympathetically decorating, including sound proofing.
The initial target of £75,000 enabled the Trust to commence building work and we are very grateful for all donations received and we have been overwhelmed by the support.
We then raised further funds through the campaign to enable us to purchase furniture and additional items.
We are also looking into funding a dedicated bereavement midwife alongside volunteers to enhance the current service.
The maternity department also hopes to provide aftercare support/counselling to bereaved families after discharge from the hospital by way of accessing support groups and counselling services such as the Maddison Shelbie Trust.