Support During your Journey

The perinatal team provides support to families whose baby has been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, this difficult news about your baby’s health may come during your pregnancy or after your baby is born. With the experience and knowledge gained through our work with families and the relationships we have developed with Fetal Medicine and Neonatal teams, we are able to advocate and support families through their journey, which is often filled with anxiety and emotion.

Our aim is to provide a safe, compassionate, and caring environment for parents to explore their wishes, process their emotions, as well as encouraging them to find hope and meaning through their journey.   We offer choice to families and through a shared decision-making model, guide them to explore their wishes. This may range from maximising their baby’s quality of life and focusing on their comfort to life-prolonging treatment and care. Please be assured the team provide support for all wishes and eventualities and in your chosen place of care, be that hospital, home, or hospice.

How we can help

Support During Pregnancy and Birth…

Support at Appointments – We can support you at clinic appointments and scans. We will keep in touch with all your key professionals and happily ask for updates and feedback on your behalf.

Emotional support – We can provide emotional support and be someone for you to contact between appointments by phone, video call or face to face.

Antenatal Classes – Our ‘Gentle Birthing’ Antenatal Course offers the opportunity to parents whose pregnancy is complex to come and meet with other parents in similar situations to your own. The course also provides you with some practical information about pregnancy and birth, along with elements of hypnobirthing techniques including breathing and relaxation. Topics include:

  • Preparing for birth
  • Signs of labour
  • Pain relief
  • Role of the birthing partner
  • Birthing your baby
  • Breathing and hypnobirthing techniques
  • Bonding with your baby

 

Parallel Birth Planning – We understand how difficult it can be when the prognosis of your baby is so uncertain. Parallel planning is a concept where we are ‘hoping for the best’ but have a plan ‘just in case of the worst’. This focuses on what would be important to you as a family and captures your wishes. The birth plan also incorporates some control in your birth planning and has elements of a typical birth plan such as pain relief, position for birth etc. For some families discussing the worst-case scenario is too painful, and that is ok, please be reassured that we will not make you do this, and we will still provide the support that is needed for you.  

Memory Making – We offer bump photography and heartbeat recordings to create some wonderful memories of your pregnancy.

Sibling Support – We offer guidance and support in how you can best support siblings.

Complementary Therapies – We have a Complementary Therapy Team who can provide Reflexology, Reiki and other alternative therapies which are safe in pregnancy and provide you with relaxation techniques. The team also provide a ‘hormone re-balancing’ session after the birth of your baby.

 

Support When Your Baby Arrives…

We understand that having a baby on a neonatal unit can be a very stressful time for families. The perinatal team can provide emotional support and guidance to parents through this challenging time and work closely with the staff on the neonatal unit to provide family centred care.

We offer a relaxed and friendly opportunity to chat through any worries you may have and help bring a little light to your day by creating some lovely memories with your baby.

Ongoing Support…

We recognise going home is a scary concept for our families as well as a joyful time, we therefore provide ongoing support to help aide this transition.

We facilitate a baby group for families to meet and get together in a fun and safe environment. The group offers emotional and peer support with the addition of links to specialist services from the wider team such as physiotherapy, music therapy and occupational therapy (and lots of tea and cakes!).

If the Worst Should Happen…

When a baby sadly dies, we provide both practical guidance, information, and emotional support for families. We help guide families through some of the choices that are required at such a difficult time, explaining some of the formalities involved and offering support with funeral arrangements.

At the hospice we have two dedicated ‘Butterfly bedrooms’ where your baby can stay, as an alternative to a funeral home, after they have died. We are also able to support you if you wish for your baby to rest at home before the funeral.

The Perinatal Team run a monthly support group for anyone affected by the loss of a baby. The meetings are a form of therapeutic support run by one of our counsellors alongside the perinatal nursing team. The group allows families the opportunity to talk openly with bereaved families who have gone through similar experiences.

 

Meet the team

Kat Williams: Perinatal Nurse Consultant

Paula Salmon: Perinatal Associate Nurse Specialist

Lucy McKenzie: Perinatal Health Care Support Worker

 

Referral Criteria:

Antenatal Referrals

  • Diagnosis of a life-limiting/life threatening illness made in the antenatal period.
  • Referrals accepted at any gestation.

Neonatal/Infant Referrals

  • Extreme prematurity
  • Diagnosis of a life limiting/life threatening condition in the neonatal/infant period
  • Uncertain prognosis e.g. HIE

Bereavement Support Referrals

  • Death of a baby in hospital (neonatal, paediatric, or maternity services)
  • Death of a baby at home

Still Births

  • Referrals for bereavement support for a baby still born will be considered on an individual basis

Getting in touch

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please contact:

Kat Williams, Nurse Consultant Tel: 07824326068

Paula Salmon, Associate Nurse Specialist Tel: 07747568231

Email: clairehouse.perinatal@nhs.net