A Specialist Bereavement Midwife has been appointed by Walsall Healthcare to support women who sadly lose their babies at the Manor Hospital.
Laura Atkinson’s role will also be to provide support for staff.
The 27-year-old takes on her new role later this month (September) and has worked for the Trust for four years, based on the Delivery Suite.
“It is recognised nationally that this specialist role is a worthwhile addition to trusts and I am looking forward to being able to offer support to women and their families at what is an extremely distressing time for them,” she said.
“While I haven’t experienced the loss of a baby myself, I have supported women who have during my midwifery career and I want to do my best to help them. Many don’t realise that they can spend time with their baby or that they can make funeral arrangements.
“I want to reassure them that they can remain with us until they feel ready to leave. We have bereavement rooms where they can stay and this is in a quiet area so they are away from the sights and sounds of the delivery suite which would understandably be a distressing environment following the loss of a baby.
“I am a mother myself, I gave birth to my daughter at the Manor, and while I can’t imagine how a woman feels upon losing her baby it is an area I am interested in. I want to make a difference at this difficult period in their maternity journey.”
Laura explained that the role is also important for staff involved in women’s care.
“We build up a relationship with the women and families we care for and we feel their loss too. In Maternity Services we are like a big family and we are there for each other. My new role is an exciting one for me as it’s the next step in my career but my motivation is definitely about being able to offer the best support we can.”
Nicola Wenlock, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Divisional Director of Midwifery, Gynaecology and Sexual Health, said: “It is important for the parents of a baby who has died to have the most sensitive and individualised care that we can provide. Laura’s role is not only to support our families who have experienced a baby loss but to also develop the service which we provide to ensure that our staff are all equipped with the knowledge and skills to undertake this element of care based on the best available evidence which is developed in partnership with families.
“We have recently been selected to be part of the pilot of the National Bereavement Care Pathway along with only 10 other Trusts which is such an honour for us at Walsall Manor Hospital and Laura’s role will be key in the implementation of this new pathway. We are looking forward to attending the launch of this pathway in London on 9 October which coincides with Baby Loss Awareness week (9– 15 October).
“This new role reinforces the commitment in Maternity Services to ensure the care and support we provide to women is of the highest standard.”