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Ambulance service introduces ‘cuddle pockets’ for grieving parents

  • July 5, 2024
  • 3 min read
Ambulance service introduces ‘cuddle pockets’ for grieving parents

Handmade ‘cuddle pockets’ designed to help parents in dealing with the trauma and grief of losing a baby are being rolled out across London Ambulance Service. The knitted pouches were created by charity Blue Lights Babies and will enable staff to “convey babies born too soon in a dignified way” and allow the bereaved relatives to hold them after birth in an ambulance.

Advanced paramedic Nicola Jones has worked with lead midwife Camella Main to launch the pockets. She draw on her own personal experience of baby loss to move the project forward.

“I have a personal experience of losing a baby and I know a lot of others do too,” she said. “At the time of my loss, I really struggled going from paramedic to patient. The change left me feeling incredibly vulnerable and I often felt very alone during the experience and as I tried to come to terms with the loss.

“The moment I saw the pockets I really understood the impact they could have. I knew from a patient’s perspective the difference they would make.”

The cuddle pockets will be included in the maternity packs that are carried in every ambulance in the service. In the last year, London Ambulance Service clinicians attended over 1,000 patients who experienced or were suspected to have experienced a miscarriage.

“As a midwife, supporting bereaved parents is a core aspect of our role,” Camella said. “Listening to what they need during this really difficult time is essential. My colleagues and I have seen for ourselves that giving parents time to hold their babies born too soon can be a crucial step in their recovery.”

Along with the cuddle pockets, London Ambulance Service staff have also been trained in how to support families. The training has been co-designed with parents that have experienced baby loss “to support appropriate communication and memory-making.”

“I’m really pleased London Ambulance Service is helping to give parents the dignity they rightly deserve and show empathy in these truly horrific moments they experience in the wake of baby loss,” Camella said.

Nicola knows all too well the impact when this goes wrong. “I visited several GPs in the months following my own loss and was often asked to repeat my experience and was even asked to present proof of my miscarriage,” she said. “This increased my fear and anxiety about returning to work. But I’m using my experiences to try to help others when they need it most.”

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