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Memories and mementos

Aim to explain sensitively to the family the opportunities for seeing and holding their baby after post- mortem and for any mementos appropriate to the age of the baby.

Families tell us that opportunities for memories and mementos can be missed and at times inappropriate suggestions were made given the age of the baby, which added to their distress.

The steps within this section may span several days and several different scenarios depending on the circumstances and location of baby’s death and post-mortem.

What do we need to do?

  • Sensitively explain to the family that no mementos can be offered in the Emergency Department due to the legal processes.
  • Let the family know mementos will be offered by mortuary staff who will ensure that a lock of hair, hand and footprints and photographs are offered.
  • Discuss the opportunities to see and hold baby again after the post-mortem has taken place.
  • If the pathology centre will be geographically quite far away, do not assume that families may or may not want to travel to see baby there but do say they can see and hold their baby again at their funeral directors.

How will we know we have achieved our aim?

Families will tell us they understood the opportunities to see and hold their baby after post-mortem and to have mementos. They will say their options and the legal limitations were sensitively explained in a way that increased comfort rather than causing added distress.

Staff will tell us they feel confident and competent to explain the choices families have for seeing and holding the baby and mementos after they leave the Emergency Department.

We were assured we would get a lock of his hair, footprints etc. but when we asked about these in the following week we were informed we had not signed the correct paperwork at the hospital and could not get these … I am sure the hospital staff would have been devastated this had happened to us if they knew. Our Funeral Director ensured we had his hand and footprint to keep. I would be utterly devastated if I had not got these.
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