A new Butterfly Suite has opened in CHI at Temple Street. Designed to give families protected space and comfort while they navigate the impossible experience of losing a child, as a family. The development of the suite was a really special and emotive project in CHI at Temple Street and provides a dedicated space in the hospital for end-of-life care. The suite was made possible through kind donations to Children’s Health Foundation Temple Street, without whom this project would not have happened.
Staff of CHI at Temple Street share the profound difference that this new space will make for families who must face the reality of losing a child.
Eileen O’Toole, Assistant Director of Nursing said: “While some of our palliative children and young people need to be cared for in other areas of the hospital, the new suite is a dedicated apartment for patients in palliative care and their families and it has everything they need to spend time together as a family during the last days and hours of their child’s life. It has a parents’ room, TV room and even a beautiful outdoor space. There is separate access for staff to come in and out as needed too. The Butterfly Suite is an important addition to the care provided for families at CHI at Temple Street at the most difficult of times.”
Rose Carroll, who was involved in the Projects side of the development said: “The new suite was designed in consultation with families and parents whose children passed in CHI at Temple Street, to really get an in-depth understanding of what should be included in the space at that difficult time. In the patient’s room there is a big double bed, to give families the time to lie down together beside their child and hold them. We’ve also included carpet on the floor – which is not normally used in clinical settings – based on feedback from parents and we hope small touches like this will make the most difficult of times, a little bit more comfortable.”
End-of-life care involves managing pain and other symptoms, as well as providing psychological, social, spiritual and practical support to a child and their family during and around the time of their death.
If a child is unable to leave the hospital, it is crucial that a child and their family have a home-like and dedicated location for care and ultimately, for death.
The goal of the Butterfly Suite is:
- To provide high quality, child and family-centred care in a dedicated space.
- To ensure that all sick children and their families have equal access to palliative care services that are flexible and patient-centred and take into account their unique physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
- To provide compassionate care and support in a home-like environment and to facilitate special moments for the child and their family.
Denise Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Children’s Health Foundation said “To be able to provide a private space where grieving parents can spend the last few precious moments with their child in peace and comfort is so important. Until now there hasn’t been a dedicated room available for a child and their family in these circumstances. We are so grateful to all our supporters and private Family Foundation. Without you, this fantastic, compassionate project would not be possible. To all the brave families who gave their input into this project, your wish was for those going through a similar experience would find some comfort. That comfort will be found in the Butterfly Suite. Thank you”
Ann Higgins, Foster Mam, whose son Michael passed away in CHI at Temple Street in 2018, said that based on her own experiences the new Butterfly Suite would certainly bring comfort to families at a time when navigating the loss of a child seems impossible. “The heartbreak you experience never ceases. And while no parent wants to use this new Butterfly Suite, I can say from personal experience that this resource will provide families and parents the much-needed space, comforts and precious time with their beloved child.”