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Bereavement Worker (UK)
Bereavement Support Midwife – Louise Bardon
I am extremely humbled to have been nominated and shortlisted for a Butterfly Award. Supporting bereaved parents with respect, dignity, care and compassion is something which I feel extremely passionate about, and I believe that this is the norm within our practice at East Lancashire Hospitals.
Earlier this year I was also honored to be nominated, shortlisted and presented with the ‘Compassionate Care’ award at the East Lancashire Hospitals annual ‘Star’ awards, and myself and my colleagues attended the Royal College of Midwives Awards in March after being shortlisted for the SANDs Award for Bereavement Care 2017.
Ordinarily, parents embark on their pregnancy with excitement, anticipation and many aspirations for the future. Yet within moments these hopes and expectations can become shattered and the impact that this can have both physically and emotionally is massive and lasts a lifetime, regardless of when the loss occurs.
Supporting bereaved parents and families, and sharing those precious moments spent with their little ones is a real privilege during such emotional and challenging times. We can never heal the pain following the loss of a baby, however we can strive for ‘gold standard’ care which makes parents and families feel valued during such a traumatic experience.
As a bereavement midwife my main passion is to ensure that all parents feel supported and empowered to maximise this short and precious opportunity with their baby, and to make as many memories as possible, if they wish. Parents and their babies are cared for within either our Butterfly Suite, or Serenity Suite. Cherished memories are highly essential for some families, and ultimately all that parents have when they return home. Hand/foot prints, locks of hair, photographs, bathing, dressing, naming/blessing are just some of those vital elements of memory making, and I have been privileged to support parents with this during some of the most challenging situations.
I am committed to supporting parents and families, as and when required, regardless of circumstances or gestation, and I have recently supported a mother whom sadly suffered the loss of her little boy back in 1993. Due to the situation, she had minimal information regarding her son and I have since been able to provide her with an accurate date/time of birth, measurements, birth weight, and scan picture. We have also located an entry made by her father in a baby memorial book, created a memory box, and she has felt empowered to have a memorial stone engraved for her son. This demonstrates the lifelong impact that baby loss has on parents and the importance of continuing to strive for excellence in bereavement care.
“Louise is a committed Bereavement Midwife that always strives to go that extra mile”.
Mummy to ‘Luke’ born sleeping in 2013
Since coming into post I have established some excellent working relationships both with service users and extended bereavement service colleagues and this has enabled me to further develop our bereavement care.
With support from our local parent charity Friends of Serenity our Serenity Suite has been refurbished and we are awaiting fabrics to complete the furnishing for both Butterfly and Serenity suites.
I have also introduced the opportunity for parents to have access to a selection of books which they can choose from to support them with siblings. These books will support a variety of age groups and they are free of charge to parents.
The costs incurred by parents at the local registry office for a full stillbirth / death certificate is also covered by our charity friends of serenity, and I ensure that the registrars have a continuous supply of postal orders to fulfill this element of care.
I have recently developed and implemented a ‘Bereavement Care Booklet’ for use within our hospital which will ensure that parents have access to written information regarding all aspects of Bereavement care and services within East Lancashire to support them during this very difficult time when having to make sense of the wealth of information provided is extremely challenging.
Some of these developments in care have been supported by Friends of Serenity, and the selfless time and effort which parents and families so generously give to fundraising and supporting the ongoing development of local bereavement care for future parents and families is overwhelming!
The parents never cease to amaze me with their phenomenal strength and courage during the most traumatic of times and my contact with parents continues after they have been discharged from the hospital. Many parents receive ongoing support from me either via telephone calls, text or a meeting. The parents and families know they can access me anytime and I will endeavor to support them in any way possible. If I can provide a listening ear, and acknowledge the grief that parents are suffering, hopefully I can slightly lessen the burden at times when it feels unbearable.
Good bereavement care is essential……..for parents, families, professionals and most importantly those precious baby’s whom make an imprint upon this world, and I am extremely honored and privileged to work within such a humbling role.
What Others Have Said
“She truly goes above and beyond in the care she provides for families who face this journey. The first question Louise asked me when we met her was – ‘does your little boy have a name?’”
“She acknowledged that our son was very much ‘real’ …”
“She helped me dress him, and allowed me to simply mother him”
Mummy to ‘Otis’ born sleeping in 2016
“She was genuine. She wanted to hear about William and my twins. She looked at his photos and told me how beautiful he was. It wasn’t just a job to her……..She acknowledged him”
Mummy to ‘William’ born sleeping in 2012
“Louise helps us through those days were we think we can’t carry on she’s an inspiration”
Mummy to Harry born sleeping 22/06/16
“Louise has gone above and beyond to support me and my partner when we lost our baby boy; she was always just a phone call away and always willing to talk”
“It was terrifying and she was by my side the whole time she is truly amazing”
“It makes me realise I do have someone to talk to, I have Louise and she has helped me though so much and I’m so grateful. A true inspiration! ”
Mummy to William born 25/02/17
“She is one in a million. I am so thankful and I know MANY other parents feel the same way”.
Mummy to ‘Otis’ born sleeping in 03/06/16