“I have been in the most privileged position that anyone could ever be in”

Interview with Emma Bleasdale, Neonatal In-Reach Coordinator at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice

Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice began providing care to children and families in West Yorkshire in 2010 through our Hospice at Home service, delivering care within families’ own homes.

In December 2012, we opened the doors to our hospice, Russell House, located in Huddersfield, offering children and families care and support within our state-of-the-art building.

As the number of families we supported increased and the demands for different areas of care arose, in April 2014 we, with thanks to funding from St. James’ Place Foundation and Help the Hospices, were able to employ a Neonatal In-Reach Coordinator, namely Emma Bleasdale.

Emma, who previously worked as a sister for ten years in the neonatal services within Leeds, explains what the role encompasses:

“My role at Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice is to lead our innovative antenatal and neonatal services, with the main objective being to ensure families who are expecting or who have had a baby with a life shortening condition to be offered choice; choice about their place of care, choice about the place of death and choice about ensuring their baby and family are cared for in their preferred way.”

Our neonatal and antenatal service supports families from point of diagnosis (which can be as early as 14 weeks into pregnancy), throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond.

“From the point of diagnosis families can access all of our services at home, hospital or at Russell House, it is completely their choice.

“We will do whatever it takes for a family to achieve their wishes for their baby.”

From offering support at scans and fetal medicine meetings to support during delivery through to providing accommodation for respite or end of life care at Russell House, the range of services available to families stretches far beyond the conventional realms of care people may think.

“The most precious things we can offer to families is time.

“At Russell House we have the amazing opportunity to offer parents and families time with their baby when they have sadly died.

“Our Snowflake Suite is a beautiful self-contained family suite located in our hospice where families can stay with their child right up until the funeral, offering time for family members to visit and parents to make special memories they may not have thought they would get the chance to do, all the while our care team are on hand to offer support 24/7.”

Our neonatal and antenatal services have gone from strength to strength, with this evident through the huge increase in referrals we are receiving.

By developing strong relationships with local hospitals more healthcare professionals know what we offer, leading to more families being pointed in our direction.

“We had one referral for a newborn baby from a hospital within the twelve months prior to the project starting, in the last 24 months we have supported 49 babies and their families, 38 of which being within the last 12 months.

“We have received an enormous amount of interest in our care from other hospices and hospitals not just in the UK but on an international level and, having just recruited another full-time neonatal nurse and plans being in place around further roles within our perinatal team, the potential number of families we will be able to support will only continue to grow.

“Recently we have begun running antenatal support groups and have just started a parent and baby support group too, allowing families to meet other families experiencing similar journeys.”

Our vision is to become even more embedded within local healthcare services and ensure every healthcare professional in West Yorkshire knows what we can truly offer, in turn helping more families to get the care they deserve.

“It sounds a little strange but I absolutely love my job; from my point of view it’s simple, I cannot change the diagnosis a baby has but what I and the fantastic team here at Forget Me Not can do is ensure that no family is alone, they are helped along their journey, listened to and understood.

“I have been in the most privileged position that anyone could ever be in; I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the most amazing families who show strength and courage beyond imagination and of course their beautiful babies.

“I will remember each and every one of them, their lives may have been very short or they may have never taken a breath but what they have taught me will stay with me for a lifetime.”

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Hello to our latest 99er: Care Fundraising Supplies

We are delighted to welcome Care Fundraising Supplies to our 99ers Business Club.

Care Fundraising Supplies develops fundraising ideas for charities and other not-for-profit organisations of all sizes, across the UK and overseas.

“We’re proud to support the work of Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice through being a 99er. Forget Me Not is our local children’s hospice and being behind the essential work you do for our community means a lot to us.

“Our ideas range in size and scope. We help with the basic fundraising need for collection devices to managing the design and delivery of merchandise for fundraising events such as Colour Run, Midnight Walk and Bubble Rush. Our imaginative approach stems from 25 years’ experience in sourcing, designing and supplying innovative products.

“We work with many household names and have particularly strong relationships with hospices across the UK and are part of the success of countless campaigns.

“You can meet us at a number of hospice meetings and events, as well as the Institute of Fundraising annual convention.”

Contact Care Fundraising Supplies on 01484 640800, info@carefs.co.uk, www.carefundraisingsupplies.co.uk, Twitter:  @CFSupplies

Find out more about our 99er Business Club by clicking here or call 01484 411040

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