FAMILIES who lose babies at the Dorset County Hospital will be offered comfort in a new bereavement room.

Midwives have set up the suite in the Dorchester complex’s maternity ward to provide a less clinical environment for patients and families.

Their task has been aided by donations of a sofa bed from the London Lounge furniture store and the Friends of Dorset County Hospital, which also provided items.

Head of midwifery Jo Hartley said at the official opening of the room: “It does make such a difference to have such good-quality stuff.

“We thought it was important to have a room looking like this for families who have lost babies.

“A degree of comfort makes such a difference.

“It doesn’t feel so much like a hospital and people tend to relax without thinking ‘I’m in a hospital’.”

She added: “The effect of losing a child is one that stays with families forever.

“Having a nice setting gives them one less thing to worry about.”

Midwife Susan Palmer went to the London Lounge for the donation of the sofa bed and oversaw the creation of the bereavement room, keeping a careful eye on the design.

She said: “The Friends have donated the curtains and also a little fridge so people don’t have to leave the room and be exposed to babies.”

Mrs Hartley said: “It’s to Sue’s credit that it looks so good.

“If she had not spearheaded the project it wouldn’t look like this.”

Hospital chief executive Jean O’Callaghan was impressed by the room and what it would offer grieving families.

She said: “It all adds to the quality of care that we can give to patients and families when something unfortunate happens.

“It makes for a much nicer environment.”

Mrs O’Callaghan said it was yet another example of staff at the hospital taking the initiative to provide something that would improve the quality of care for their patients.

She said: “It is always a delight that staff are finding ways to always make things better for the people they care for.

“We are very lucky.”