Official opening of bereavement suite at Worthing Hospital

Monday March 4, 2019

A hospital suite designed to give parents a safe haven to stay in after the loss of a baby has been officially opened on the maternity unit at Worthing Hospital on Wednesday.

The Maple Suite offers a home-from-home environment with a private entrance away from the delivery suite, with its own delivery bed, bathroom, sofa bed, television and kitchenette.

Joined by maternity staff, Love Your Hospital, the Trust’s dedicated charity and local families who had fundraised to support the suite’s development, the Mayor of Worthing cut the ribbon and expressed his heartfelt thanks to all involved.

He said: “We are delighted to be able to open a space within our hospital’s maternity department and it is certainly lovely to see our local families assist with the funding of such a personal space and to see them here with us today.

“We now have a beautiful space in which we can provide support and care to parents going through a difficult time.

“On behalf of myself and the Mayoress, we hope that the families that use the space, albeit under emotional and upsetting circumstances, can find the suite homely and as comfortable as possible.”In 2017, one in every 225 births in the UK ended in a stillbirth. On average, nine babies are stillborn every day in the UK, making it 15 times more common than cot death.

For parents, parting with a stillborn baby is the first step in a long and difficult grieving process. A device called a Cold Cot, also available in the suite, provides a temperature-controlled mat placed at the base to keep babies cool and allow parents to spend more time with them.

Juliette Phelan, Maternity Matron for Worthing Hospital said: “Experiencing a stillbirth is so distressing for families and the staff involved. Our vision as a maternity team was to create a quiet, homely and dignified space to enable couples to spend quality time with their baby without being disturbed by the hustle and bustle of our busy labour ward.

“Sadly, the room is in regular use, but we’ve already had some incredible feedback from families who have said it has made such a difference.

“We now have a beautiful space in which we can provide support and care to parents going through a difficult time. I’d like to say a special thank you to everyone who has made the Maple Suite a reality.”

Shelley Kyte, a Clinical Systems Trainer at Worthing Hospital, raised more than £3,500 with her partner Mark towards the suite in memory of their baby girl, Rosie, who was born sleeping on 11 June 2015.

On what would have been Rosie’s first birthday, the couple completed a 100-mile run to provide funds for a new cold cot.

Shelley said: “The day Rosie arrived was also the day our world came tumbling down. After her birth, we stayed with her for a while, but unfortunately could not stay the night which broke our heart.

“We were surrounded by the sound of babies crying in the delivery suite and the happiness of other families as we left hospital without our angel.

“A few months later, we reflected on the care and space available to us and decided to take on a fundraising challenge so other families didn’t to have the same heart-breaking experience we did.”

Brighton-based company, Paxton Access, where Shelley’s partner Mark is an employee, raised more than £4,700 towards the refurbishment.

Paxton CEO, Adam Stroud, said: “A big thanks to Love Your Hospital and to the maternity department for all their support during this period.

“It is fantastic to see the suite opened and we hope that future families that will use it can hold memories of their child that can last forever.”

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