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We’ve employed Europe’s first hospice midwife ​

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve employed the first midwife ever to work in a hospice anywhere in Europe. Sara Balmforth came to us in June 2017, and takes our perinatal team up to 7 people.

Because this is a unique post, Sara’s role will develop according to what families tell us they need. Everything she does will be about supporting families whose pregnancies and babies are affected by life-shortening conditions.

How has this been funded?

We’re so grateful to all of the supporters who’ve helped to build our perinatal service and made Sara’s appointment possible. Our donors and fundraisers have enabled something which is unique in Europe, and which is of massive importance to families. What Sara is doing will almost certainly spread to other hospices around the UK, which means that the people of Huddersfield are changing the way children’s hospices operate right across the Britain.

What does our perinatal team do?

  • Help families to better understand their situation and prepare for what lies ahead
  • Provide the emotional and practical support that families so desperately need
  • Be alongside families right from the time a potential problem is diagnosed (often at the 20-week scan but sometimes at or just before birth) and journey with them for as long as they need
  • Help families to celebrate their pregnancy and birth, whatever their circumstances
  • Work closely with community midwives
  • Accompany families to hospital appointments
  • Attend the mother during a hospital delivery (including caesarean sections)
  • Help families to leave hospital sooner, bringing them to Russell House instead
  • Help to establish breastfeeding
  • Build parents’ confidence when looking after a baby with a particular condition
  •  Help explain things to siblings
  •  Run support groups for families.