Bereavement room for parents opens in maternity unit at Portlaoise hospital

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly

Bereavement rooms opens at maternity unit in Portlaoise hospital

Front (L-R): Maureen Revilles, Aideen Cassidy, Emma Foy, Anna Koudelaki, Back Row: (L-R) Louise Cooke, Ita Kinsella, Dr Miriam Doyle, Mary Lovegrove, Susan O’Callaghan.

A new bereavement room, The Willow Suite, within the maternity services at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise was officially opened recently.

The HSE says the suite is a purpose built, en-suite room for parents and families who have experienced a pregnancy loss and require in-patient care. It has been designed to provide a private environment, within which, the sensitive individuality of each bereaved parent’s needs are respectfully cared for. 

It is anticipated that the suite will enable a woman’s partner to remain with her overnight and during their hospital stay if they so wish. The Willow Suite has also been furnished to facilitate family members who may wish to visit to support bereaved parents.

The 2016 HSE National Standards on Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death, recommended nationally, the development of in-patient rooms, purposefully designed for bereaved parents and their families.

Maureen Revilles, Director of Midwifery, Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise said it will help to deliver compassionate care.

“Pregnancy loss and bereavement care are uniquely personal experiences for parents and their families. We, at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, are committed to providing care and compassion at these times in parents’ lives. The Willow Suite provides a protected and comfortable space for parents and their families.

"We were delighted to be awarded the funding by the Design and Dignity programme and would like to thank the Irish Hospice Foundation for their support and funding”, she continued.

Michael Knowles, General Manager, Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, thanked those who have supported the project.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of the maternity services and the support of the Irish Hospice Foundation for this dedicated room. This project has been nurtured by engaging with parents and families bereaved by pregnancy loss, and listening to their experiences," he said.

Laois woman Sharon Foley is CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation.

"The essence of Design & Dignity projects is to convey a sense of reverence and respect for life, death and bereavement. We are very pleased this project has come to fruition in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise and would like to acknowledge the work undertaken by the maternity services in implementing the national bereavement standards,” she said.


Michael O’Connell is Clinical Director for Integration at Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and Portlaoise Maternity Services.

“The Willow Suite has also been a very important development for staff caring for bereaved parents and families within our maternity services. Person centred bereavement support is integral in the care we provide to parents and families bereaved by pregnancy loss. We are delighted and honoured to provide a kind and compassionate space, within our bereavement care and support services," he said.

The project was funded by the Design and Dignity Grant Fund which is operated and co- funded by the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF) and the Health Service Executive (HSE). 

The Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise is one of over 48 hospitals in Ireland linked into the Hospice Friendly Hospitals (HFH) Programme.  The HFH Programme is an initiative of the Irish Hospice Foundation.

It seeks to ensure that palliative, end of life and bereavement care are central to the core values of care within hospitals.