Cwm Taf University Health Board has worked in partnership with the charity 2 Wish Upon A Star to open a family room for bereaved parents at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant.
Rhian Burke founded the charity in 2012 following the sudden loss of her son George. Rhian and her husband Paul found that there was little to no support available, and unable to cope with the loss, five days later, Paul passed away.
Chief Executive of the health board, Allison Williams said: “We are delighted to be able to offer these new facilities within the A & E department at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital which will provide the opportunity for family and friends to spend time with their loved ones in a calmer and quieter environment at a very difficult time.”
The room is designed to give families a private and comforting space where loved ones can wait for news, and when necessary, be together to say their final goodbyes.
The opening of the room marks what would have been George’s 6th birthday. It represents the culmination of five years of work for Rhian, who fought to ensure that no family in the area ever need feel alone or isolated following the sudden death of a child or young person.
Rhian said the opening of the room meant her son and husband left a permanent legacy: “The last five years for all of us has been an incredibly difficult time, and I want to thank everyone who has believed in us and helped us turn the charity into what it is today.
“We’ve met some amazing professionals and some amazing families, and knowing that George’s life has meant something, that his legacy will continue to help other people, means the world to me.
“The charity has gone from strength to strength thanks to the community, our staff and our wonderful volunteers. I know these rooms will help people through the hardest of times, and when they are ready, the charity will be there to help them further. We now work with every health board across Wales, and will continue to work to ensure no family is left behind.”
Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething said: “The sudden loss of a child is devastating for any parent and I hope that this suite will provide some comfort to families.
“I would like to thank Rhian Burke for her inspiring work for ‘2 Wish Upon A Star’ to ensure that families are supported at this difficult time.”