Mothers’ Union members support the parents whose children stay at the JR Hospital in Oxford in a variety of ways.
There is a Ronald McDonald House on the top floor of the Children’s Hospital and members donate tea, coffee, hot chocolate, toiletries, cleaning products and new magazines for the residents there. From these donations the hospital makes up emergency bags which are given to parents who arrive in the Emergency Department and whose children are admitted to the wards. We also make a small cake to go in the Christmas hampers that parents receive.
Members also provide new pyjamas or nightgowns for children who have died to wear when the parents go to view them. We have made special cushions on which to place babies at this sad time so that this experience is less clinical. Treasured memory kits are also given so that families have a record of all their children’s hand and foot prints when one child dies.
In addition, some people work with the chaplaincy team to visit the families on two of the wards to provide a friendly face to talk to: some children stay in hospital for a long time and at the JR, children come from far and wide, so are not always local to the hospital, whilst others are only admitted for a short period of time, but the effect on all families is enormous and an opportunity to chat is often very welcome.
Other hospitals around the diocese (eg, Reading, Milton Keynes and Stoke Mandeville) are supported too by donating emergency toiletries to those who find themselves in A & E.