P-05-912 Supporting Families with Sudden and Unexpected Death in Children and Young Adults
petition was submitted by Rhian Mannings having collected a total of 5,682
Text of Petition
We call on the National
Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to provide support for a
service here in Wales to ensure families who unexpectedly lose their child or
young adult aged 25 years and under get the support they require.
In February 2012 my son
George died suddenly in an Emergency Unit in Wales. We walked out into the
night with nothing, alone and frightened. Nobody came, nobody reached out to
support us and it was left to devastated friends and family to support my
husband Paul and I. Five days after we
lost our son my surviving two young children and I faced more heartache when
Paul took his own life. Once again nobody came.
Families require support
immediately after such loss. They need to have a point of contact if they have
questions and a friendly ear to listen. You never get over the loss of your
child and families need to know there is long term support in place for to help
them through the grieving process.
There is no planning or
preparation prior to a sudden death and the effect of traumatic loss can have a
huge impact on the mental health of parents, siblings and other family members.
We believe this support is essential and will prevent families walking out into
the night with no hope, no support and most importantly without their child.
Since 2012 I have been
determined to ensure families get the same support when they say goodbye to
their child as they do when they welcome it into the world at birth. 2 Wish
Upon A Star was established to support families and staff through the
unexpected loss of a child or young adult aged 25 years and under. This support
includes memory boxes, counselling and an immediate support pathway working
with health boards and police forces here in Wales. We have had more than 465
referrals since we started supporting families in 2015. The causes of death
include SIDS, accidents, illness and more recently many young suicides. The
feedback we get from both families and staff has been extremely positive, but
we know many families are not being referred to us and many still need our
2 Wish Upon A Star already
works with every health board in Wales and are supported by every police force.
We have immediate support pathways in place in every Emergency Unit and
Critical Care Unit and our pathway is clearly outlined in the Public Health
Wales PRUDiC document. We also work with every Coroner, Mortuary, Organ
Donation Team and Wales Air Ambulance to make sure no family is missed.
However, many families still go without support. Staff have been known to
'forget' to give memory boxes, decided that the family of a 18 year old does
not require support as 'he had stubble' and that the offer of support at time
of death is 'not appropriate'. It is not for the professional involved to
decide if a family require support.
We know by speaking to
staff and families that our service is changing lives for everyone involved in
the sudden death of a child or young adult and we want the Welsh Government to
ensure all families get the offer of support when needed most.
Committee congratulate the petitioner Rhian Mannings and all those who
supported the petition on achieving a positive change and commitment from Welsh
Government to ensure all those who lose a child or young adult will be offered
immediate bereavement care and support which meet agreed standards. The
Committee agreed to close the petition and also to use this petition as a case
study for future petitions.
Full details of the
consideration of this petition by the Committee and related documents can be
seen on the Meetings tab above.
It was first
considered by the Petitions Committee on 19/11/2019.
Senedd Constituency and
- South Wales Central
Business type: Petition
Reason considered: Senedd Business;
Status: For consideration
First published: 28/10/2019