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Support grows for grieving families

Kate Minto and Jacqueline Blauw

16 July 2015

THERE is now greater support for families suffering the tragedy of stillbirth or infant loss at Cairns Hospital due to a newly created role, together with ongoing help from volunteer groups.

Cairns Hospital has created the role of Pregnancy Loss Coordinator currently held by Jacqueline Blauw.

Ms Blauw said the new role was about offering women and their families coordinated care and support during what is a painful and ultimately life-changing event.

“The sad reality is one in four women will suffer some sort of infant loss, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy in their lifetime,” she said.

“So even if you haven’t been directly affected, you probably know someone who has been.”

Ms Blauw said the continued support of local volunteer groups like SANDS, Heartfelt photography and Angel Gowns also played a major role in the care provided to grieving families.

“I work very closely with these amazing groups and am constantly touched by their selflessness and generosity,” she said.

“Many of these people have personal experience dealing with the death of a stillborn or newborn baby which makes it even more inspiring.”

She said she worked with the volunteers and social workers to help families create as many memories of their lost loved one as possible.

“In the last two months, by working with community groups and volunteers we have been able to make improvements to our care here at the hospital,” Ms Blauw said.

Kate Minto is one such volunteer, working with Sands Queensland as the Cairns butterfly coordinator.

“As the butterfly coordinator I provide the hospital with handmade memory bags that contain Sands support material and memory creation items to help bereaved parents capture precious memories of their babies,” she said.

Mrs Minto said the tragic loss of her own baby had compelled her to help others.

“When I lost my little boy, I felt alone for so long,” she said.

“I want other women to know there is support from mum’s who have experienced the loss of a precious infant.”

Ms Minto said the coordinator role at the hospital had already made a huge difference to patient care.

“Now these families have someone like Jacqui who can be there every step of the way,” she said.

“It’s just so important.”

Ms Blauw will host an event tomorrow in honour of the volunteers.

“Tomorrow is about honouring our amazing volunteers who donate their time, services and products to create beautiful memories for the women and families who experience pregnancy and infant loss. Their dedication and support is so worthy of our celebration and recognition.”

Last updated: 23 July 2015