Hospice care is...

...about living. It is about making every moment count. It is about creating memories. It transforms lives.

Hospice care is there for anyone, young or old, living with a terminal illness, and their loved ones.

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Hospice care is... there before birth

Emma Bleasdale leads Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice neonatal and antenatal service. This appointment was made possible thanks to funding from St. James’ Place Foundation and Hospice UK.

Describing her role, Emma explains:

"My main objective is to ensure families who are expecting, or who have had a baby with a life-shortening condition are offered choice; choice about their place of care, choice about the place of death and choice about ensuring their baby and family are cared for in their preferred way. We will do whatever it takes for a family to achieve their wishes for their baby."

Families are offered support from point of diagnosis (which can be as early as 14 weeks into pregnancy), through pregnancy, birth and beyond. This can include support at scans, fetal medicine meetings and during delivery and providing accommodation for respite or end of life care.

Emma explains:

"The most precious things we can offer to families is time.

“At Forget Me Not Children's Hospice we have the amazing opportunity to offer parents and families time with their baby when they have sadly died. Our Snowflake Suite is a beautiful self-contained family suite where families can stay with their child right up until the funeral, offering time for family members to visit and parents to make special memories they may not have thought they would get the chance to do, our care team are on hand to offer support 24/7.

"Recently we have begun running antenatal support groups and have just started a parent and baby support group too, allowing families to meet other families experiencing similar journeys."

Reflecting on her role, Emma said:

"It sounds a little strange but I absolutely love my job. From my point of view it is simple; I cannot change the diagnosis a baby has but what I and the fantastic team here at Forget Me Not can do is ensure that no family is alone; they are helped along their journey, listened to and understood.

"I have been in the most privileged position that anyone could ever be in. I have had the pleasure of meeting the most amazing families who show strength and courage beyond imagination and of course their beautiful babies.

"I will remember each and every one of them, their lives may have been very short or they may have never taken a breath but what they have taught me will stay with me for a lifetime."

Originally published on ehospice: Hospice’s neonatal and antenatal service supports families through pregnancy, birth and beyond

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