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Midwives plan service of comfort for community of bereaved parents

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

A service for parents who have lost a child through stillbirth or miscarriage is to be held at St Thomas’s Church in Douglas on 2 January 2020 at 2pm. Midwives at Noble’s Hospital organise the STAR (Still Treasured, Always Remembered) service each year to support bereaved families. 

The event aims to provide a focal point for those who have lost a child, whether recently or long ago, to find comfort through being with others who have suffered a similar loss. The informal event is led by hospital chaplain Reverend Philip Frear, with those attending welcome to contribute by reading a poem, playing music or singing. It’s hoped that by hosting the STAR service in the community this year rather than at Noble’s as in the past, more people will come along. 

Families will be invited to light a candle in memory of their lost loved one and stay behind after the ceremony for refreshments and a chat with others.   

Families who lose who a much-wanted baby are invited to use the Forget me Not Suite, a comfortable, private retreat within the hospital which offers time and space to come to terms with their loss while being supported by staff. The facility was designed, equipped and furnished by Island charity Tabitha’s Trust.

This year’s STAR service will build on the midwifery team’s partnership with local bereavement organisations. Lead midwife for bereavement Dianne Rubery said:

‘Families are always at the centre of our service; it was created to meet their needs and develops each year through their feedback. The festive season can be a difficult time for people who have lost a baby and we hope the service is a welcome opportunity to reflect and remember with others.

She added:

‘As midwives, we stand by parents in their loss. Bereavement charities work with families over a longer period than we do, and their ongoing support and expertise is invaluable. This year we’re keen to include all Island bereavement organisations in the STAR service, as we are aiming to expand our partnerships with them so that we can enrich the care offered to families at the darkest of times. We can do this by working closely with local charities.' 

Last summer Dianne and a colleague attended a conference in England run by charitable organisation Beyond Bea which is dedicated to raising awareness of baby loss and improving bereavement care among health professionals through education. The midwifery team at Noble’s is hoping to run a study day along similar lines here in 2020.

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