Forget Me Not Suite

In November 2016, Tabitha’s Trust officially opened the “Forget Me Not Suite”. The first bereavement suite at Nobles Hospital, Isle of Man

In 2014 Tabitha’s Trust were asked by Jane Sloane (Head of Midwifery) and her team, to take over the development of a new bereavement suite. The new suite would be housed in the old Special Care Baby Unit. At first, we had no idea the scale of the project, both financially and emotionally! But what we did understand completely, was the desperate need for the facility.Suite

We first set about raising awareness about the project. This was a mammoth task in itself as we, as a society, are terrible when it comes to talking openly about death. And in particular, the death of babies and children. But we have learnt in the four years since becoming bereaved parents ourselves, that we have a voice, and we must use our voice!

We will forever be grateful to the groups, individuals and organisations who advised, supported and guided us towards creating the suite.

The ideas, research and personal experiences over the two years of development have enabled us to create a space dedicated to providing families with a protected seclusion from the main maternity ward. Not least, because of the types of immensely painful decisions that will be made there. The suite will enable them to spend as much time as they need with their baby, making unhurried and informed decisions, and most importantly the ability to make a lifetime of memories; encouraged and supported by the dedicated maternity team.

The suite has been designed with future families in mind. And the most important influence of these Sunflowersdecisions, as well as medical professionals; came from other bereaved families. We have worked to minimise possible triggers, relating to the time spent within the suite, and to make their experience here a nurturing and unique environment. Trying our best to ensure families will not have to encounter a similar space, furniture or art work. Our statement wall uses a similar colour used in our charities logo. It symbolises a warmth from our presence, that we understand, and that they are not alone. It is also used in the national baby and pregnancy loss awareness campaign run by SANDS every October.

Some of our main aims when developing the suite:

  • The room not being too “clinical” and more homely
  • Having the opportunity to spend as much time as possible with their baby / babies, and other family members too
  • Utilising the Cuddle Cot donated by Tabitha’s Trust in 2013. The Manx Workshop for the Disabled are helping to create a bespoke cot to accompany the equipment. It gives families the gift of time
  • Providing a relaxed environment for younger siblings & family members
  • Being encouraged to make as many memories possible with their baby / babies as to have as few regrets as possible
  • The opportunity to do “normal” things with their baby / babies like bathing them, dressing them, putting them to bed – and being supported in doing so (it can be scary and families are unsure of what they can do)
  • Given practical help and advice before leaving the hospital, about what to do next / help available

To help reach these ideals, we decided that:

  1. Having a double bed so partners can stay with / next to each other. Siblings / family members can sit together and cuddle on a larger bed
  2. Giving the new suite a name, rather than it being referred to as the Bereavement Suite
  3. The families really loved the idea of being able to have a real cot. Rather than just the hospital units. We have approached a local Charity to design one for us
  4. Include books for parents and other family members. These can be used as tools to encourage younger children to talk about what has happened, to explain things in a gentle way, for parents to read to baby, and can be taken away and kept. They have been very kindly donated by many supporters, through our Amazon Wishlist
  5. A comfortable seating area so family members can sit together
  6. Encouraging families to take advantage of the local photographers who have volunteered to come and take photographs, if the family decide they want this
  7. Incorporating beautiful art work donated by Janice Farnan to encourage a calming environment

I would like to extend the deepest gratitude from both myself and the Charity, to the following. These people have helped ensure the suite became a reality in many ways. Donating their time, funds, skills, giving advice, answering one of my many, many, many questions; or supporting the Project in other amazing ways.
In no particular order, thank you to:

Jane Sloane and her amazing team for asking Tabitha’s Trust to develop the suite. We are honoured and it has been a privilege to work with you to create it

All the departments at the hospital who helped the Project, notably Victoria Caley. You really were the glue that held it all together! Thank you!

Janice Farnan, of Janice Farnan Photography for all the photos in this album, for your time and talent and for the beautiful art work featured in the suite

Shoprite and the Cycle for Life Committee whose support and donation has ensured the completion of the suite and the ability to fund future developments

Gerry Maginn and his teamWAll Art

Michael McGovern and Ste Boles – thank you

The First Names Group for their ongoing support and fundraising efforts

Tough Mann team

Manx Telecom

Rob Callister MHK

Clare Bettison MHK for opening the Suite and becoming our Patron

Noelle for her kindness, time and talent

Douglas Fire Station

Jon Stott

Rachael and James Quayle, and baby Isaac

Amanda and Jonathan Barton and Angel Jasmine

Richard from Forever Stars

MannVend

The Manx Workshop for the Disabled

Apollo Blinds for supplying the beautiful blinds so quickly and at cost. Thank you!

Victoria and Chris Kissack, Founders and Trustees

Thank you to everyone who volunteers for us, whether you knit, crochet or sew, donate items from our Amazon Wishlist, gift us items for our Memory Boxes, help at fundraising events, whether it was once for a hundred times.

And to the other Trustees – David, Steph and my husband Chris.

Thank you to my mum and my boys for their patience, and for minding them so I can attend meetings and disappear into the study for hours at a time to research, plan and talk to families long into the night.

And most importantly, to every single person from the child loss community, both on the Island and across the UK, that I have personally spoke to over the past two and a bit years. Who advised, guided and shared the experience of losing their child with me to help create a room that should never have to exist, but will become an integral part of newly bereaved families care. I am forever in their debt, inspired by their strength and humbled by their words.

The Forget Me Not Suite – for bereaved families, created by bereaved families – Victoria, Trustee

 

Artwork kindly donated by Janice Farnan Photography

© 2015 - 2016 Tabitha’s Trust
All Rights Reserved
Isle of Man Registered Charity No.1134.