WHH Bereavement suite opens

July saw the formal opening ceremony for the maternity bereavement suite at the William Harvey Hospital.   Click here for more photos.

The care that bereaved parents receive in hospital following the death of their baby is crucial.  These experiences may be remembered by parents for the rest of their lives, and bad experiences may exacerbate feelings of pain and grief for bereaved parents, potentially for many years to come.  Small details can mean a great deal and the environment in which care is delivered is of particular importance.  This is why dedicated bereavement care facilities are a necessity to ensure that parents receive care that best suits their needs.  That is why we are so pleased that the WHH bereavement suite is now about to open.  We say 'about to open' as at the time or preparing this report, there were still issues with the call system and the heat in the room which prevened it being used.  This is frustrating on so many counts, particularly as we raised the issue of the heat a long time ago during the planning stage.  Every day of delay is another day where bereaved families may have to be supported in inapproriate facilities.  We will update this page as soon as we know the suite is in use.

Sands has campaigned for many years for proper facilities to be provided at every hospital   The bereavement suite at Margate opened in October 2017 and now, at last, we have more approriate facilities at our other main hospital.  This replaces the temporary 'Room 26' which Sands helped create a couple of years ago.  Local press reports carried  a picture of 'Room 26' before East Kent Sands gave it a makeover a couple of years ago.  While this temporary room was far from ideal, since our makeover it certainly wasn't anywhere as bad as the press reports suggested! 

The new facilities have come about following considerable fundraising by the Twinkling Stars project, part of the Hospital's charity activities, and special thanks to Charlotte and her family  who did so much.  East Kent Sands was pleased to be able to contribute financially, while also contributing to some of the design issues and gently chasing behind the scenes and, of course.  Other charities and groups also contributed financially and we are grateful to them too. 

East Kent Sands volunteers continue to work closely with the midwifery and NICU teams at both the William Harvey and at the QEQM hospitals.  In particular we:

  •    Provide bereavement training for midwives, nursing, medical and other staff.
  •    Paid for the makeover of the temporary bereavement room and supplied furniture and equipment.
  •    Provide ‘cuddle cots’ and other equipment.
  •    Offer memory boxes, information packs and special memory items.
  •    Provide Sands’ Professional Guidelines.
  •    Paid for eight staff to attend the national conference in York in September.
  •    Contributed towards the costs of three bereavement suites at Margate and Ashford, as well as Hastings.

In addition we provide direct support to families, run the Baby Memorial Garden and take part in awareness-raising events most weeks.  All of this is paid for by our fundraising & donations and deliverd by volunteers.

Publication Date: 
Friday, July 27, 2018