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UHBW offers England’s first perinatal bereavement service for patients

Last updated: 15/08/2023

Madeleine and Elle

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) has opened the first perinatal bereavement service in England. The Snowdrop team cares for families who have suffered the loss of a baby from 16 weeks pregnancy up until an early neonatal death, at St. Michael’s Hospital.

This can include miscarriage, a termination for fetal anomaly, a stillbirth or a neonatal death. The team can also provide support for subsequent pregnancies.

This service bridges the gap in support between the Maternity and Loss team (MaLT) for losses before 16 weeks pregnancy, and the current support available within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Snowdrop can provide support at clinic appointments, scans, follow up reviews, by signposting to charities, counselling, and psychological services, and discussing funeral options, guidance, and memory making.

Sarah Windfeld, Director of Midwifery at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Losing a baby is a very difficult time for a parent or family. This valuable service will allow us to provide personalised support and care to families, during these extremely difficult moments and beyond.

“We will continue to grow Snowdrop, and the support we provide for our patients, and their families.”

Maddie Holland, Lead Neonatal Nurse for Bereavement at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust said:

“The support we offer is personalised to fit around what parents and families want and need. We can visit in hospital, at home, meet for a walk, coffee or discuss on a call. Whatever works best for them.

“The death of a baby is incredibly distressing, and we want to enable the space and time for grieving, while providing answers and help with important decisions that need to be made at a time of loss.

“You can contact us at any time, and while we’ll only respond during working hours, we very much encourage families to get in touch at any time. 2am is often the time you’re laid awake at night thinking about all the questions you want answers to.”

The introduction of the service follows UHBW commitment to the National Bereavement Care Pathway and the Trust’s ongoing dedication to improving patient experience.

Patients can contact the team via email or phone.