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Keepsake quilts for bereaved parents

Author: Petrina Vousden
06 May 2016
  • Members of Yeats Country Quilters group gifting their handmade tapestries to Sligo University Hospital in the Peadiatric ward with Bernie Clancy Clinical Nurse Manager 2 Pediatric ward (first on left) and Ann Hayes Clinical Nurse Manager 3 End of Life Care (second from the right)

The death of a child, a baby or an infant is known to be the most profound personal loss that a parent can endure. Holding something tactile or wrapping their child in a blanket can give comfort to bereaved parents.

Small, personal touches can impact greatly on the experience of bereaved paren

A craft group in Sligo, in the North West of Ireland is donating handmade quilts to children admitted to Sligo University Hospital Paediatric unit. The group ‘The Yeats Country Quilters’ named after famed Irish poet WB Yeats are based in Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo in the shadow of Benbulbin mountain, close to Sligo University Hospital.

 The hospital’s End of Life Care Coordinator made contact with the quilters group. With the Yeats Country Quilter’s support and generosity, the initiative has now been extended to bereaved parents whose child has died in the hospital. 

The special quilts are used in place of a plain hospital sheet/blanket. The handmade quilt is offered as a gift of compassion and empathy from the hospital staff to bereaved parents. Parents can keep the quilts after they leave the hospital/mortuary.

"Giving parents one of the quilts is a simple way for hospital staff to show sensitivity and support to parents whose child has died, whether the death was sudden or expected. The quilts are individually vacuum packed to adhere to infection control guidelines," a spokesperson for the initiative said.

The Yeats Country Quilters meet in a local resource centre on a monthly basis to share ideas, discuss their craft and develop new designs for their quilts. The group’s creativity, innovation and passion for their craft is seen in the beautiful quilts gifted to bereaved parents.

The project won first prize in the ‘Innovation Non-Clinical’ category at the Saolta University Health Care Award Group, It received a National CMG healthcare award in March 2016 . The hospital staff greatly appreciate the support of the Yeats Country Quilters with this initiative.

Sligo University Hospital is linked to the Hospice Friendly Hospitals Programme which seeks to ensure palliative, end of life and bereavement care are central to the everyday business of hospitals in Ireland

For more information contact: Ann Hayes, CNM3 End of Life Care, Sligo University Hospital

 For more information on Hospice Friendly Hospitals

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