Hereford & Worcester

Hereford hospital suite for bereaved parents

The maternity bereavment suite
Image caption Grieving families are to be offered privacy in the dedicated suite of rooms at Hereford County Hospital

A hospital suite has opened for the use of families who have lost a baby.

An appeal raised more than £100,000 to create the private area at Hereford County Hospital for those trying to come to terms with a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Until the launch of the family room and counselling space, bereaved parents did not have their own dedicated provision.

Laura Culpin developed the idea with hospital fundraisers after her daughter Penny was stillborn in 2016.

The hospital said the suite would make a "significant difference" to families.

Image copyright Family Handout
Image caption Laura and Alex Culpin now have a one-year old son, Seb

Mrs Culpin said being around expectant and new parents had been "surreal" in the wake of her loss three years ago, and made her family's grief even more difficult to bear.

"Your baby you can't hold, but you can hear and smell and see everybody else's babies," she said.

Explaining the thinking behind the suite, she added: "We're trying in an attempt to just soften the blow a little bit by making it less clinical and more friendly and humane."

The facility has been designed by family and baby loss awareness charities, and was created with money raised by Wye Valley NHS Trust charity's Born Sleeping campaign.

Mrs Culpin raised more than £4,000 towards the appeal and has also written some literature for the hospital to give to grieving parents.

Helen Price, the hospital's deputy head of midwifery, said the suite would make a significant difference to both families and health professionals.

"We feel we're doing the right thing for women and really supporting them much better than what we were previously.

"They can stay in this environment with their babies so they can make precious memories, they can have photographs, they can bring other family in and there is no pressure to go home."

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If you have been affected by issues raised in this story, the following organisations are on hand to help:

Sands - Stillbirth and neonatal death charity: 0808 164 3332 or helpline@sands.org.uk

Tommy's - Miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth: 0800 014 7800 or midwife@tommys.org

Miscarriage Association: 01924 200799 or info@miscarriageassociation.org.uk

The Lullaby Trust - Sudden infant death syndrome charity: 0808 802 6868 or support@lullabytrust.org.uk

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