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Sands partners with South West Acute Hospital to build new Bereavement Suite


South West Acute Hospital Exterior

Sands, the U.K’s leading baby loss charity, is thrilled to announce a partnership with the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen to create a new Bereavement Suite.

The suite will provide a peaceful and comfortable environment for families who have experienced the loss of a baby during pregnancy or birth.

The new suite will be a quieter more private space for parents to spend precious time with their baby, to create lasting memories that will help them on their grief journey.

Brenda McCabe, Lead Midwife for South West Acute and Omagh Hospitals said:

“Staff at the South West Acute Hospital are committed to providing the best possible care for families who have experienced the loss of a baby.

“The new Bereavement Suite is part of our ongoing efforts to improve bereavement care services. Losing a baby, at any gestation, is surrounded with untold heartbreak and can be a very distressing experience.

“The kind of care that women and her partner receive from their hospital and the multi-disciplinary team including medical, nursing and midwifery staff can make a real difference to how they cope with their experience of pregnancy loss.”

Head of Midwifery Mrs Maureen Miller, added:

“The Western Trust continues to look at ways to support bereaved parents. In 2017 the Trust took steps to improve the care given to women and partners in our hospitals through the employment of a Childbirth and Pregnancy Loss Specialist Midwife.

“One element of this role is to bridge the gap between bereaved families and hospital staff, following the loss of a baby and to assist in providing immediate and also long-term sensitive care and support to all involved.

“The Lavender Suite at Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry/Londonderry also opened in 2017, for women and her partner, who have sadly been given the devastating news that their baby has died, to spend precious time and say goodbye. The Lavender Suite was jointly funded by the Western Trust and opened by Sands.

“The Lavender suite has received excellent feedback from all of the families who have unfortunately needed to use it.”

The project is part of a larger Sands N.I project to ensure that a dedicated Bereavement Suite is available in every maternity hospital in Northern Ireland.

Steven Guy Sands N.I Coordinator, said:

“Since 2017, Sands N.I have been working with hospitals in the Belfast, Southern and Western Trusts, with three projects, Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Daisy Hill & Altnagelvin already completed and the Craigavon suite project in the final stages.

“The South West Acute Hospital Bereavement Suite project will mean that both maternity hospitals in the Western Trust will have a dedicated Bereavement Suite.”

In recent times local parents in the Fermanagh and Omagh area have fundraised in memory of their babies who sadly died before or after childbirth to raise money for similar facilities at the South West Acute Hospital.

Their fundraising along with Sands and Western Trust have now enabled the development of a bereavement facility at the hospital.

The new Bereavement Suite is set to open later in 2023, and Sands are currently seeking donations to help fund the project.