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Support for Families Coping with an Unexpected Loss

Scotland has a higher mortality rate for under-18s than most other Western European countries, with over 300 children and young people dying each year. Around a quarter of those deaths could be prevented - Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Crosshouse Children’s Fund has backed a nationwide campaign to help understand and prevent unexpected deaths in children and young people, by appointing Ayrshire’s first Paediatric Bereavement Liaison Nurse, Victoria Maxwell.

Victoria’s work with families in Ayrshire and Arran will influence the Scotland-wide strategy to identify trends in unexplained deaths at regional and national levels. Additionally, Victoria provides vital bereavement support to families who did not know their child was going to die.

“Signposting is critical to families who aren’t known to any service, which is often the case with a sudden or unexpected death.

“My role is to ensure that at such a tragic time, families have access to the support they need, when they need it. In the past, this support has not always been immediately available.

“By working closely with colleagues in palliative care and the neonatal unit, we can strive to ensure that irrespective of how or when a child passes, families will receive equal access to support. This can be so important for a family whose lives have been turned upside down in a heartbeat.”

Victoria’s work not only provides immediate help to families in Ayrshire, but also influences the Scotland-wide strategy to identify trends and prevent unexplained deaths at regional and national levels.

Kirsten Watson, CEO, Crosshouse Children’s Fund, said: “We are proud to fund this important work, which will help families in Ayrshire and Arran who are navigating the heartache of an unexpected bereavement. The project is part of our broader ambition to provide bereavement support to any parent who loses a baby or child, following our £2,000 grant to Ayrshire Baby Loss Support. We rely on donors and fundraisers to provide these vital projects, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who supports Crosshouse Children’s Fund.”