Bereavement suite offers parents a private space to grieve their loss

A revamped bereavement suite has been opened for parents who experience baby loss.

The Butterfly Bereavement Suite at St Thomas’ Hospital was officially unveiled by staff from the bereavement maternity team on Wednesday of last week, during Baby Loss Awareness Week.

The refurbished unit, away from the labour ward, offers families a private and comfortable space to grieve the loss of their baby.

The suite, with butterfly artwork chosen by families who have experiences stillbirth, includes a fold-out bed for partners, and food storage and refreshments, and is staffed by specialist bereavement midwives Zahra Famili, Anna Nella and Gillian Donaldson.

It features a bereavement memory box to help families say goodbye to their babies.

Zahra said: “We are delighted to open our refurbished Butterfly Bereavement Suite.

“It was very important to us that the room provides as much comfort, peace and support as possible.

“The room feels more homely than clinical, and there is sufficient space for partners to spend the night so families can be together.

“The feedback from families has been very positive. The room has provided them with comfort during a very difficult time.”

The maternity bereavement team held a special prayer and reflection session to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week.

They also hosted workshops for staff throughout the week.

A special candle lighting service will be held in the birth centre at St Thomas’ Hospital to remember babies who have lost their lives.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust has partnered with the baby loss charity Petals to provide free counselling sessions, funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, to help people process the grief they have experienced, as well as support through future pregnancies.

Bereaved parents also have access to a ‘cold cot’, donated by the baby loss and stillbirth charities Abigail’s Footsteps, SiMBA, 4Louis and the manufacturer of Cuddle Cots, so they can stay with their babies for longer and say goodbye in their own time.

The Trust has also partnered with the charity Remember My Baby to provide free professional photography to families suffering the loss of a baby.

Zahra said: “Losing a baby during pregnancy or birth is a huge tragedy. Our bereavement team and specialist services are there to support parents going through an extremely difficult time.”

The Butterfly Bereavement Suite refurbishment was funded by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

Pictured top: Staff in the refurbished suite at St Thomas’ Hospital

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