A newly-appointed perinatal bereavement project co-ordinator says a mum who lost her baby daughter this year was her inspiration to apply for the regional Victorian-first program role.
As part of the new role, nurse and midwife Hannah Millard will oversee a new bereavement program at the Warrnambool Base Hospital and help to support families experiencing perinatal, infant or child loss up to the age of 16 years.
Ms Millard said she was excited to be involved in the new program which was a first for regional Victoria and she wanted to be involved in shaping care for families who had experienced trauma.
Ms Millard said her close friend and We've Got You co-founder Maddie McConnell and husband Matthew, who lost their baby daughter Wren earlier this year, was her inspiration and their "passion and drive for change" in perinatal and infant loss in the region was incredible.
Ms Millard said all the families she had provided perinatal loss support to had helped shape the individualised care she gave.
"Over the years working in nursing and midwifery I have experienced clinically what it can be like to care for someone having the best but also the worst and most emotional day of their lives," Ms Millard said.
She also works as a practice nurse at Headspace where she has seen "the profound effects that trauma can have upon young people and families of the region".
She said this experience had helped shape her interest in mental health and providing care and support for bereaved families.
Ms Millard hopes the new role will provide a streamlined approach to perinatal and infant loss care through education, consumer involvement and research and collaboration with other health services.
The bereavement room, which was launched in November, is a joint initiative between South West Healthcare and the We've Got You Foundation. The room and its accompanying staff member will help bridge the gap between the care received at Melbourne tertiary hospitals and the care families can now access locally.
Ms Millard encouraged residents who had experienced perinatal or infant loss to provide insight into what was important during their journey and to reach out to SWH to help shape the inclusive project.
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