A peaceful and private place to say goodbye
The aim of providing Family Rooms within maternity units is to offer parents the opportunity to spend further precious time with and prepare to say goodbye to their baby in peaceful and private accommodation. They are ideally positioned away from the main wards but with maternity staff and medical facilities on hand. Family members and friends may also visit if desired.
Family rooms are the most special place; a place where we can't change the sadness of what has happened but we can and have changed the feel and the sanctuary of the space. Time spent in our family rooms making the most precious of memories, time together as a family, with family and friends, time that can never be replaced will now be time spent in the most perfect surroundings.
The Lola Commons Fund for SiMBA fundraisers cover the cost of each family room refurbishment and we work closely with the hospitals to meet their specific needs. SiMBA will then create a working group; encouraging maternity staff to get involved and play a key role in the refurbishment, arrange for the decoration of the room and finally organising the official unveiling.
We are currently working on family room projects in:
Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE)
The Princess Royal Maternity, Glasgow
The Borders General Hospital
St Johns Hospital, Livingston
100% of all funds raised for the Lola Commons fund for SiMBA will be spent on these projects. If you would like to donate directly to the Lola Commons Fund for SiMBA text Lola15 £2/£5/£10 to 70070 or to donate online click here
Royal Alexandra Maternity, Paisley
(Photos Ian Watson)
On the eve of Baby Loss Awareness week 2018 SiMBA were delighted to unveil the Family Room and Quiet Room at the Royal Alexandra Maternity in Paisley, a project that has been in planning and discussions since 2013.
Lisa Hague, founder of the Lola Commons Fund for SiMBA and her fiancé Kris Commons, officially opened the family rooms today and fundraiser Tim Devaney and his wife Annick and son Zachary officially opened the quiet room after locally bereaved families fundraised over £30,000 to support the project.
We were honoured to have many of the families join us for the official unveiling, those who had been involved in the fundraising so they could see first hand these beautiful rooms.
The family room (pictured below), filled with 'forget me not' flowers, will provide an area for parents who are experiencing bereavement to stay from induction to delivery and for postnatal care so they can spend precious time with their baby. The family room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, a sofa bed so that parents can stay in the room together, a mini fridge, Bluetooth speaker, parent packs full of toiletries
Whilst the quiet room (pictured below), is specifically designed for families returning to the hospital to spend time with their baby, or see their babies name in the book of remembrance, with a cabinet specially designed for this purpose. A mini fridge and tea/coffee making facilities are also available in this room.
Both rooms are based on the footprint for the family rooms unveiled by Lisa and Kris in May last year in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
The bathroom in the Family Room where we see the 'forget me not design' flowing through, is equally as beautiful. (photo Denise Kelly).
Sara Fitzsimmons MBE, Executive Director, SiMBA said "Many of the parents had been in the rooms during the time of their own loss, and although today was very emotional revisiting the rooms, it was however extremely moving knowing that these rooms will make a massive difference to future families.
I have been a practising midwife for 22 years working for 21 of those in the NHS. Working with a strong team is essential to the success of any project. From the beginning the team from Grosvenor Interiors have guided us through every single step, listening to the voice of the parents through their contact with SiMBA, carrying our original design blueprint into these new rooms. Every member of the team pulled together knowing how vitally important rooms such as these can be. The difference that Family Rooms can make to a parents experience within the hospital is incredible, allowing precious time together that isn’t rushed.
From left to right - Jackie Crawford, April Commons, Lisa Hague, Kris Commons, Sara Fitzsimmons, Dorothy Finlay
These rooms at the Royal Alexandra Hospital have been created with passion, using the experiences and suggestions from bereaved families and staff and I am so very proud to be able to unveil them to some of the families who have fundraised so hard to support this project today.”
Evelyn Frame, NHSGGC’s head of Midwifery said: “This is such a tragic time for these families, so anything we can do to make things a little easier for them is to be welcomed. We are very grateful for the support of SiMBA and all those who have fundraised to make this room possible. We hope the new Family Room brings some comfort to women and their families at a very difficult time in their lives and allows them to create some lasting memories.”
Lisa and Kris were delighted with the rooms, Lisa said:
“These rooms have exceeded my expectations, Kris and I have been involved from the beginning so we shouldn’t have been surprised but I can only say they are breath taking, so tranquil. When we were speaking to other members of hospital staff they were telling us how proud they were of the rooms and that made us feel incredibly proud.”
We would like to say a special thank you to Altro for the very kind donation of the flooring for both rooms. The team there understand the need for these rooms and offered their services so the rooms would look complete. Also a special thanks to Bell Group for kindly donating their materials, expertise and time to paint both rooms. It's companies such as theirs that make projects like ours possible.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Glasgow
In 2015 Katrina Armstrong, a Neonatal Nurse in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow approached SiMBA to ask if it would be possible 'to do something with their two rooms to make them look better for the parents who have to spend time there'. Our Executive Charity Director, Sara Fitzsimmons visited the Queen Elizabeth hospital and began to formulate a plan
Working together as a team, Sara Ftzsimmons, Hospital Consultant, Management, Neonatal Nurses, Estates, Infection Control, Fire team and SiMBAs Ambassador and founder of the Lola Commons fund for SiMBA Lisa Hague and fiancee Kris Commons all began to put their ideas forward. We then asked parents what they would benefit from in a room and the plan started to evolve. SiMBA took all of these ideas to the Design Team in Grosvenor Interiors and the room started to blossom.
On the 18th of May 2017 The Lola Commons Fund for SiMBA officially unveiled the 'Overnight Room' (which has a sofa bed) and The 'Butterfly Room'.
These rooms are incredibly important to The Lola Commons fund for SiMBA as they will be used as the blue print for all Lola Commons Fund family room refurbishments going forward.
We would like to thank the amazing Bereavement Team at the Queen Elizabeth Neonatal Unit, the Team at Grosvenor Interiors, the parents who came along to support our day, Iona & James Morrison, Heather Lawrence and Lewis MacKenzie and Colette & Tony Early and brother Kieran and to every other parent, family member and friend who has supported SiMBA and the Lola Commons fund for SiMBA, without their input this project would not have been possible so we are forever grateful for their help and support.
The Serenity Suite, Nottingham University Hospital
Being part of a family room project at Nottingham City hospital where Lola was stillborn was an extremely important project to our SiMBA Ambassador and founder of the Lola Commons fund for SiMBA, Lola’s mummy Lisa Hague and her fiancé Kris Commons.
The new Serenity bereavement suite was opened on the 8th of December in the maternity ward of Nottingham City Hospital. The project was co-funded by The Lola Commons Fund for SiMBA, Forever Stars, Sands and the Nottingham University Hospitals’ (NUH) Midwifery Council. The £140,000 suite has two rooms: one with a double-bed and en suite bathroom and the other with a kitchen.
Bereavement midwife Christa Burgess said: “I am very proud to be able to offer families a dedicated bereavement suite at both campuses. Families can spend time with their baby, make precious memories and begin to grieve their loss while being supported by the midwives, chaplains and bereavement staff.”
Princess Royal Maternity Unit, Glasgow
The rooms that were previously used in the labour ward of the Princess Royal maternity unit were at the busiest end of the labour ward; parents often aware of the noisy surroundings. With the help of SiMBA the staff were able to move these facilities to the quiet end of the ward.
The Lola Commons Fund for SIMBA helped by providing comfortable chairs, furnishings and pictures for two Family Rooms and re-decorated and re-furnished their sitting room.
Parents often have to spend time in the unit after they have been told that their baby has died of after the delivery so having the sitting room opposite the Family Room enables parents to have separate room to spend time in and a room that family members can visit too.
Room for Support, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness
SiMBA responded to a request from the Chaplaincy staff of Raigmore Hospital to refurbish this special room. A place where parents often spend time while in the hospital or for follow up appointments/counselings after the death of their baby.
Borders General Hospital, Nr Melrose
SiMBA completed the refurbishment of the Family Room in March 2009. Again this is an en-suite room just off the main maternity ward. Midwife Suzie McFadzan was involved with SiMBA throughout this project and Maternity Assistant Alison Quinn also helped with the refurbishment of the Family Room. Local painters Garry McShane and Bryan Carruthers also generously gave up their free time to prepare and repaint the Family Room.
Elaine Cockburn, Lead Nurse for Borders General Hospital said of the facility:- “Thank you so much for all your efforts in making the room a much more pleasant environment. Thank you once again for your good work, it is much appreciated by everyone here and I have no doubt it will be appreciated by parents too.”
Simpson’s Centre for Reproductive Health, Edinburgh
This is our inaugural Family Room and is situated near the postnatal area within the hospital. To give an idea of the effect of our transformation, we show below “before” and “after” pictures.
The refurbishment of this Family Room would not have been possible without the generous assistance of the undernoted individuals and organisations:-
Barbara Herkes (Counsellor SCRH) approached John Lewis Edinburgh Furnishing Advisory who kindly agreed to offer their design services free of charge. Funding was provided by Lothian Endowments Committee to pay for installation of a call bell assistance facility.
With the help of Pam Ross, HBOS plc, SiMBA was awarded a very generous grant of £5000 from the HBOS Foundation. £2500 of this was allocated towards the cost of decorating and refurbishing the Family Room. Not only that but 4 employees of HBOS plc (Sandra Adbulai, Pam Ross, Margaret Houlihan & Cameron McKay) gave up a weekend to paint the Family Room and secure the grant monies.
A Dedicatory Plaque in this Family Room reads:
“Simpson’s Family Room
This room has been brought together as a special haven to provide warmth & comfort in peaceful surroundings to enable those who spend time here to have precious final moments together….
The room has been furnished by generous donations from SiMBA (Simpson’s Memory Box Appeal) who have overseen the project with the support of John Lewis Design Team, an ample donation from HBOS foundation as recognition of the sanctuary of this space, and Lothian Endowments Committee as an ongoing commitment to bereaved families.
Opened 28th June 2007 ”
Scotland Through the Light
Beautiful photography by Chris Thomson - www.scotlandthroughlight.com
In the family & counselling rooms in The Princess Royal Maternity Unit (staff from the unit are pictured above), Borders General Hospital and Simpson’s Centre for Reproductive Health. We chose to use Chris Thomson's pictures as they were all shot in Scotland and have a peaceful and tranquil nature.
We display postcards in the 3 rooms mentioned above allowing parents to have a memory or to purchase a print directly from his website. Chris will give a 10% donation to SiMBA from any print bought by someone who has spent time in one of our rooms.
A Word from Chris
Photography and in particular Landscape Photography is something that has interested me since I was a young boy when I was given an old instamatic camera by my parents. We regularly had holidays away in the caravan and were usually heading for the Highlands of Scotland where we would undoubtedly end up going for long walks. I would take my camera along with me and photograph pretty much anything I thought was a nice view. Over the last six or seven years my interest in photography has taken off again and I’ve been following that same passion for the Scottish landscape.
We are very lucky in Scotland to have such a diverse landscape, from the mountainous and very rugged west coast to the gently rolling lands of the east coast. The weather plays its part too, especially when we regularly seem to have four seasons in one day; it can help setup some fantastic conditions for a picture. These are some of the things that inspire me to keep taking the photos I take.
Landscape photography can at times be a very solitary pastime which is great when I simply want to take my mind off everyday life and immerse myself in my surroundings. Being at these locations can be quite therapeutic and this is something that I try to bring in to the images I take, I want to try and pull the viewer in to the picture. I think that the images chosen for the SiMBA family rooms have a certain soothing tranquility or calmness about them which I hope will be a comfort for people who find them using the family room.