Helping parents when a baby dies22 Feb
Lynn Parker is our Neonatal Bereavement & Palliative Care Specialist Nurse at Chelsea Children’s Hospital, based in NICU. Her job is to support parents when their baby has died or is expected to die. “There are no words to describe how traumatic this time is for parents. On NICU we aim to offer bereaved parents choice in every aspect of care, ensuring that the baby and whole family are treated with dignity and respect at all times.
"Chelsea Children’s Hospital Charity has helped in many ways. By funding a Cuddle Cot – a pad with cooling unit that can be used in any cot or bed - parents can spend extra precious time with their baby who has died. This can be in a bedroom within the unit or, if they wish, at home.
"However small baby is, we believe that parents should have the opportunity to dress them in new clothes if they wish. With the baby clothes bought by the charity, parents have a selection to choose from. The death of a baby affects the whole family so it's important we think about the siblings' needs too. Bereaved parents can choose from a variety of books bought by the charity to take home with them, that are appropriate for the developmental age of the siblings.
"I believe that the birth of a baby should always be celebrated however short their life, so on the first anniversary of the birth we send a card to the parents saying we are thinking of them all and remembering their baby. All these little touches show that we, as a team, care even after baby has died. We can’t make what’s happened better but the support we provide at this tragic time can make a difference to how they cope for the rest of their lives."