Providing compassionate and quality care to the families of critically unwell babies and children is always a special challenge. And skillful management of paediatric death in many ways is more of a beginning than an end.
Many units that manage such situations have some form of kit to assist with the immediate care following death of babies and neonates that contain such materials as:
- Clean clothing.
- Quilts (we have a range of beautiful handmade quilts donated by the hospital auxiliary ).
- An ink pad and cards for taking foot and palm prints.
- Reading resources and contact information for support services.
- Small tins containing craft clay that can also be used for taking foot and palm impressions.
- Equipment for taking a lock of hair.
- A camera.
My own experience is that even though it can feel a little awkward and uncomfortable raising the opportunity to take some photos at such a traumatic time (and it may not always be appropriate to do so), these photos can become a cherished keepsake and a memory of their final time together.
Last night I became aware of an organisation that can assist with providing this service:
Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature and ill infants and children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of their local hospitals, as well as children with serious and terminal illnesses.
Heartfelt is dedicated to providing this gift to families in a caring, compassionate manner.
All services are provided free of charge.
These volunteer photographers will come to the hospital or home for families that are experiencing stillbirths, critically premature or ill infants in the NICU as well as babies and children up 16 years old with serious or terminal illnesses.
The family is then presented a set of prints and a disk of high resolution images, again, all free of charge.
You can read more about this important service here. and see some examples of their work.