Safe space for bereaved parents confirmed for maternity unit at Portlaoise

Funding to upgrade a maternity space for parents experiencing pregnancy loss or perinatal bereavement

By Conor Ganly

Reporter:

By Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Portlaoise hospital

Portlaoise hospital has been granted funding to upgrade a maternity space for parents experiencing pregnancy loss or perinatal bereavement as part of The Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and the HSE’s Design & Dignity Grants Scheme.

Facilities will include an ensuite room with sleeping facilities, a comfortable seating area and a kitchenette.  This project will also involve sound proofing of the space. Approximately €89,000 has been provided – €62,134 of which is a Design & Dignity grant with the remaining amount of €26,628 coming from Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.

Michael Knowles, General Manager at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise welcomed the development.

“Our vision is to create a sanctuary and safe space for parents who experience the bereavement of their child. We plan to provide a home like environment with sleeping facilities that will allow the baby’s father to stay overnight comfortably. Having a dedicated quiet space will enable parents to be cared for with privacy and dignity.

"The creation of a comfortable calming space will allow parents spend time with their baby, creating special life-long memories which are crucial to dealing with their grief,” he said.

The Design & Dignity programme has been running since 2010 and has funded 32 hospital projects across Ireland to date including family rooms, waiting areas as well as bereavement suites in emergency departments and maternity units.

 Mary Lovegrove is Design & Dignity Project Manager with the IHF.

“This is the second maternity inpatient bereavement suite to be funded through the Design & Dignity Grants Scheme. We hope that this new suite will be a sanctuary for parents to be with their baby in a dignified, comfortable and private space at a profoundly difficult time.

“Our vision for the Design & Dignity project is for an end of life sanctuary in every public hospital in the country by 2021 with approximately 60 projects completed as well as a HSE National Mortuary Capitals Programme underway,” said Ms Lovegrove.

Design & Dignity is a partnership project of the IHF and HSE Estates and originated in the IHF’s Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme. The HSE has adopted Design & Dignity Guidelines for all refurbishment and new builds.

This measure will go some way to addressing one of the key issues highlighted during in the HIQUA investigation into baby deaths.