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Setting up a bereavement photography service
  1. M Hubbard1,
  2. J Fawke1,
  3. K Maclean2,
  4. R Hayden1
  1. 1Neonatal Service, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  2. 2Medical Illustration, University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK

Abstract

Introduction Parents who have lost a baby through stillbirth or neonatal death find photographs are a powerful and emotive way of helping to maintain memories of their baby; the quality of these prints is paramount. This has been recognised as vitally important to the grieving process.1 2 We describe the set up of a bereavement photography service, initiated by a bereaved parent, for the delivery suites and neonatal units in Leicester.

Methods Staff volunteers received training from bereaved parents, medical photographers and the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society. Three workshops and an experiential lecture were arranged. Quality cameras were purchased through charitable funds. A process for consent, photography, professional image editing, data storage, clinical governance and photograph presentation in an album was developed. Information leaflets for parents and staff have been created. The service is free to parents but a website has been set up to allow charitable donations.

Results 31 members of staff have been trained including medical, nursing, midwifery, nursery nurses and ancillary staff. 55 sets of photographs have been sensitively taken, edited if necessary and are now presented in an album to parents. Photographic examples will be presented with appropriate consent. Feedback has to be obtained very sensitively and is currently informally gained at bereavement counselling.

Conclusions Parents have reported their gratitude at the photo albums they have received. Albums have been presented at babies funerals. The donations website has received positive comments and a number of donations to sustain the service.

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