Award for Limerick project supporting traumatic birth mothers

Leader of the Lavender Clinic initiative Maria Gibbons with the HSE Excellence Award.

A PROJECT by University Maternity Hospital Limerick to support women who have undergone a traumatic birth experience has won a first-ever national HSE Excellence Award for the hospital.

The Lavender Clinic project won the national ‘Improving Patient Experience’ title in the awards, which honour examples of the great work across the health service and encourage and inspire healthcare staff to develop and improve care and services for patients.

The Lavender Clinic opened in April of this year and already has helped more than 50 women whose experience of birth has been one of trauma in its weekly off-site meetings.

Those who meet the criteria for the referral-only clinic have access to services including obstetric debrief, physiotherapy assessment, birth reflection and birth trauma resolution therapy, and liaison with a consultant psychiatrist.

Leader of the initiative, advanced midwife practitioner Maria Gibbons said: “The Lavender Clinic initiative came about from listening to our service users. The opportunity to be able to talk about their birth experience in a safe, protected space ensures that women and their partners will attend postnatal appointments and receive timely support, care, and compassion from our integrated team of healthcare professionals.

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“We’re very proud of our HSE Excellence Award, which will guide us in future planning of women-centred care and hopefully inspire our colleagues to showcase the wonderful work they are also doing every day.”

Dr Naro Imcha, consultant obstetrician and clinic director of maternal and child health at UL Hospitals Group, added: “We owe our service users our gratitude for their feedback, which made it possible for us to initiate this project.”

“The Lavender Clinic is fully dedicated to moms and dads who have experienced trauma in their obstetric journey.  A multidisciplinary team of specialists have come together to provide this service to improve a whole range of better outcomes. This service also helps us to reflect on our practice, recognise and reform our service to make our patient experience even better.”

Bernard Gloster, HSE CEO, commending the nominees, added: “The dedication and commitment to delivering high quality patient care is visibly demonstrated through this year’s entries submitted by staff around the country. Each project clearly reflects our core values of care, compassion, trust, and learning”.