A new bereavement suite has been opened at Sunderland Royal Hospital to help parents suffering the pain of having a stillborn child.
The trust had been looking to refurbish its bereavement room within the maternity unit for a number of years to improve the patient experience.
The previous room was near to delivery suites and not soundproofed, which some parents found distressing.
Working with the bereavement charity 4Louis and thanks to donations from bereaved parents, the suite has now been moved and redesigned.
Called the Louis Suite, it is now further away from the delivery rooms and is soundproofed to allow complete privacy to families.
It has all of the equipment of a delivery suite for mothers that need to deliver and has a sofa bed, kitchen and private en suite bathroom facilities so families can stay together and spend time with their child.
Kirsty McGurrell set up 4Louis after her son was stillborn in 2009.
The charity creates keepsake boxes so that people who have lost a child can capture as many memories as they can.
Kirsty’s dad and Louis’s grandad Bob, 50, of Shiney Row, said: “When Louis was stillborn, Kirsty had to have him on the maternity ward so there was other mums breastfeeding and babies crying which just felt like it was sticking the knife in while we were grieving.
“When we set up the charity, this one of the things we always wanted to do even though we knew it would need external funding.
“We didn’t know that the suite itself was going to be named after Louis but that has just topped things off.
“It’s been a very emotional day seeing it open and although we hope it doesn’t need to be used often, at least it is there for families who find themselves in the same situation that we did.”
Among those at the opening of the new suite was Emmerdale star Charlie Hardwick.
Sheila Ford, head of Midwifery at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Losing a child is an incredibly traumatic experience and it’s important that families are given the space and privacy to be able to receive support and be able to grieve.
“We have worked with 4Louis for a number of years and really appreciate the input that they have given us in terms of understanding what we can do to support parents and families and make such a difficult time that little bit easier.
“We could not have achieved this without the generous support from the charity and from donations received from parents who have also experienced such loss.
“Whilst we never want to see any family go through bereavement, we are grateful to be able to provide this flagship suite and will continue to listen to feedback to make sure that we are continually improving the care we offer.”