The Snowdrop Suite, a sanctuary for bereaved parents at Derriford Hospital, was officially opened on the 17 October 2023. The unit has been renovated to provide an improved environment for families who are suffering the sad loss of their baby.
The suite is in a wing off the maternity department to allow on-going care to be given by midwifery staff, but with the facilities of a sofa bed, en-suite shower and toilet and kitchen and visiting spaces included.
It provides a private and quiet space to spend time as a family, with the opportunity to have their baby by their bedside in a cuddle cot.
Plymouth Hospitals Charity donated more than £200,000 towards the project. Corinne Smith, Plymouth Hospitals Charity Development Manager, said: “It has been really important to the hospital that families have been involved in creating this space.
“Many bereaved families have chosen to fundraise in memory of their baby. This new space will be so much more friendly and far less clinical and give families who spend time here a space that will be comfortable.
“The staff have listened to everyone’s ideas, and it has been a very long-term project to get right. There have been some amazing fundraisers who have raised thousands and thousands of pounds, and every donation has been spent on items over and above the NHS refit budget. Families have chosen the décor, the colour schemes, the furnishings and inputted into the design and layout, all ideas taken into consideration by the staff who do their very best to support families going through such a difficult time.”
Kirstie Willis, Bereavement Midwife at University Hospitals Plymouth, says: “We know that the care bereaved parents receive after their baby dies is so important, as this is an experience that people will remember for the rest of their life.
“As such, we’ve had this dedicated space where parents can be looked after for a while. Over the years, we’ve worked hard on the practical details and comfort of partners and family members so that families can spend time with their baby and loved ones.
“We know that no facilities will lessen the grief, but we hope that a dedicated space, discretely aside from the rest of the central delivery suite, can help the best care be given in as sensitive an environment as possible.”
To aid with bonding and creating memories, a memory box for keepsakes is provided by staff, and parents are supported to create these memories, through time with their baby. In addition, there is a memory tree for families to hang a leaf on a branch in memory of their baby.
To find out more about how you can fundraise or make a donation to University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, please visit our Snowdrop Page here