Monday, 23 January 2023
The Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella has become the first in Malaga province to receive the donation of a 'cuddle cot' for parents who have lost babies during pregnancy or at birth.
The cot is designed to help families to say goodbye after the loss of a baby and help them through the process. The introduction of the cot at the hospital’s maternity and infant area is included in the Andalusian public health system’s humanisation plan, which is being rolled out in this hospital and in all health centres in Andalucía.
This initiative, called 'Oliver's Legacy' is the brainchild of a couple from Chiclana. Natalie Clayton and Manuel Moreno lost their baby Oliver in November 2020 and decided to launch the donation idea to hospitals, allowing parents who have to go through the tragedy of losing their child to spend more time with their baby.
If the parent or family is away, it also provides the option of getting time to say goodbye to their child. This is possible because the cot can hold the baby's body for a few days, so that parents can have time to say goodbye to their children.
For Mabel Méndez, head of the paediatrics and neonatology department at the Costa del Sol hospital, "it is very important to humanise hospitals and, in particular, to humanise bereavement".
"Providing that this process is done in an appropriate way can prevent pathological grief, since people need time to say goodbye as well as to caress, touch, etc., and generate memories.”
The maternity and infant area of the Hospital Costa del Sol has been working on this project for years and has a perinatal protocol which is currently being renewed to incorporate the cot.
The aim of this protocol is to facilitate the grieving process and prevent pathological grief. The mother and child area of the centre has different spaces for perinatal bereavement and the neonatal unit has a 'special care room' for perinatal bereavement and newborn palliative care.
The aim of these spaces is to provide a sensitive environment and place for them to be with their baby and say goodbye without interruption. The cot is also portable, which means that it can be moved, depending on the care process the mother has undergone (delivery room, ICU, neonatal unit etc).
For Mabel Méndez this work is important to ensure that "health is not only a physiological issue but also the emotional and spiritual health that everyone needs in these painful processes". She adds, "we already offer parents little memory boxes that can carry their baby's fingerprint, the bracelet they have worn, the dummy, their first clothes...".
The practice of the 'cuddle cot' is widespread in other countries such as the UK and the United States. In Spain, however, the idea is not yet commonplace but health professionals are working together on different initiatives with organisations such as the Andalusian Association of Midwives and other groups, to help families in this type of situation.
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