To help bereaved parents following the loss of a baby, Craigavon Area Hospital’s maternity unit has opened a new bereavement suite.
The ‘Butterfly Suite’ provides a homely space where families can create precious memories with their baby or grieve their loss, in a safe and comfortable environment.
The hospital had a designated room for parents to use and stay with their baby however it has now been extended and refurbished to provide homely and bespoke accommodation thanks to the Trust and a generous donation from the pregnancy and baby loss charity Sands.
The refurbished suite offers two dedicated rooms ‘Emperor’ and ‘Admiral’, which provide space, privacy and is specifically designed to give families somewhere they feel safe and cared for at an incredibly difficult time.
It means that both maternity hospitals in the Southern Trust – Craigavon and Daisy Hill – have a dedicated Bereavement Suite. The Willow Suite in Daisy Hill opened in 2018 and since then has helped over 40 families at one of their most difficult times in their lives.
Mary Dawson, Lead Midwife at Craigavon Area Hospital said: “Grief experienced with the loss of a baby is profound and surrounded with untold heartbreak and heartache. The Trust, and each member of the multidisciplinary team, is committed to improve the services we provide to bereaved families.
“It is hoped the Butterfly Suite will provide families an opportunity to spend time with their baby in a safe environment where they can form bonds and memories which are so important to the grieving process. It is a safe and tranquil place for those families who are yet to get in this boat and sail these choppy waters. May it make their journeys a little smoother.”
Marc Harder, Head of Bereavement Care at Sands, added: “The Butterfly Suite is a great example of how Sands is working in partnership with all boards and trusts across the UK, to support the delivery of high quality bereavement care.
“Having an available and accessible bereavement space is one of the nine standards of care in the National Bereavement Care Pathway that we promote across the UK, and we hope to work with partners across Northern Ireland to introduce a parent-led national pathway.”
Caroline Keown, Assistant Director of Integrated Maternity and Women’s Health said: “Each year in Craigavon Area Hospital, we care for up to 30 families who suffer the heartbreak of losing their baby.
“Good bereavement care at the start of a parent’s grief journey can have an impact on their long-term mental wellbeing. The grief experience is profound and this is why this purposely designed bereavement room in Craigavon Area Hospital within Maternity Services is so important.
“The completion of this dedicated bereavement suite is an example of where Maternity Services has worked in partnership with SANDS and Women and their Families who have sadly experienced baby loss in the Southern Trust to improve the physical environment they are cared for in. The Maternity team continue to be committed to listening to our service users and making improvements that ensure all care delivered is tailored to the Woman’s individual needs.”