Doncaster Royal Infirmary is now using butterfly signs on the doors of its maternity rooms to allow cleaners, healthcare assistants and other members of staff who may not have access to patient notes to easily identify where such a tragedy has happened and act with appropriate sensitivity.
The Trust has also put together butterfly themed supportive packs for families experiencing such a loss, which contain keepsakes to remember their child, practical information on what to do next, and an opportunity to have a naming and blessing ceremony with a chaplain.
Last year, 3.73 per 1000 babies delivered at the Trust were still born, compared to the national 4.82 average. Nick Kerry, Supervisor of Midwives and one of the leads on the project, said: “Although only a small number of our patients experience such a tragedy, this small change to our service is making a huge difference for those families. The butterflies were chosen because they are a symbol of rebirth and we want to make sure the focus is on the life of each baby.”
Nick has been working alongside Chris Van D’Arque, Lead Chaplain at the Trust and mum, Tara Cox. Tara lost one of her twin daughters in March 2015 and has been highlighting areas where she felt she needed more support after her experience. Tara said: “Nick’s support has been fantastic. She’s been brave enough to address a sensitive issue and make real improvements, it just shows how much she cares and now vulnerable families in this position will benefit from the changes she has implicated.”
The Trust is also working with charity, Remember My Baby, who offers parents who have gone through the loss of a baby the chance to have some remembrance family photographs taken. The portraits are professionally edited and given to the parents free of charge. Chris Van D’Arque, Lead Chaplain for the Trust said: “We absolutely cannot let bereaved families leave hospital with nothing and that’s why we must offer them the chance to remember the short but incredibly significant lives of their children.”
The Trust hopes to continue to build on the work they have already done to improve this area of their service and are currently fundraising to support their plans to open a memorial garden on site, which will give families a place to go and remember their babies. They are also rolling out bereavement specific training for more of their midwives and ensuring that a lead midwife for bereavement is always on call.