9th August 2021
THE Welsh Ambulance Service has introduced handmade ‘cuddle pockets’ so that stillborn babies can be transported to hospital with compassion.
The bespoke hand-knitted pockets are designed for babies who are less than 24 weeks, who are placed inside and the ribbons tied together.
The baby’s parents are encouraged to hold their baby during the journey.
The Trust is among the first ambulance services in the country to begin using the pockets, which have been donated by non-profit organisation Needles & Hooks Angel and Preemies (NHAP).
The initiative was launched following feedback from patients and crews, and aims to ensure that bereaved parents and their babies are treated with dignity.
Steve Magee, clinical lead for the project, said: “The loss of a baby is incredibly difficult for both the parents and the ambulance crews who attend.
“Historically, our crews have had no compassionate way of wrapping and transporting premature stillborn babies and have had to improvise with the equipment they have.
“We wanted to do something that would make the journey to hospital less distressing for everyone.
“We’re hugely grateful to NHAP for kitting these unique cuddle pockets completely free-of-charge, and to The Consultant Midwife Group for Wales for supporting us to make this happen.”
Cuddle pockets are being rolled out onto all of the Trust’s ambulances and rapid response cars, and staff are being supported to encourage mothers to hold their baby, which is an important part of the grieving process.
Claire Roche, the Trust’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, said: “Dignity and compassion is so vital to improving the experience of families when they suffer a tragic pregnancy loss.
“Thankfully, cuddle pockets will not be needed very often, but when they are, they can make such a difference for mothers, fathers and families.
“For parents, knowing that their babies are being treated with the utmost respect is so important, as well as our staff feeling they are able to provide babies and their families with support and care when they need it most.”
Call the Trust’s Head of Communications Lois Hough on 07866887559 or email Lois.Hough@wales.nhs.uk for more information.