Perinatal palliative care is a fairly new and misunderstood field of children’s palliative care. In Poland, pregnant women who have been diagnosed with foetal anomalies have the choice to continue the pregnancy and give birth or alternatively terminate the pregnancy, which is legal in Poland. The period after diagnosis can be very difficult for these women who often feel deprived of motherhood. In response, the Gajusz Foundation started a perinatal palliative care project to cater to these women and families.
The ‘Let Me Be’ project, located in Lodz is a first of its kind perinatal palliative care service in Central Poland which aims to anticipate, prevent and relieve physical and psychological suffering, as well as preserve quality of life of the child whilst honouring the parents preferences and wishes regardless of the baby’s length of life. “In this region of Poland we lacked a system that offered psychological support to mothers carrying foetuses with fatal diseases. Our idea for this project was to create a new and specialised system,” said Project Promoter, Anna Rajska – Rutkolinska.
Since the projects inception in 2014, ‘Let Me Be’ has assisted an estimated 700 women and their families. The project is financed through the Norway Grants, with the primary objective to improve perinatal palliative care availability. The projects psychologist, Dr Bogna Kedzierska, said “We prepare the families in different ways. The main thing is the understanding. We continuously give them detailed information about the process. A paediatrician and a psychologist assist in legitimising their feelings.”
‘Let Me Be’ has joined forces with local public hospitals, and is providing training to doctors, nurses and midwives. “I believe this project has been eye opening and raised more awareness for the different options available. We have also received media attention and noticed an increased awareness in the public society,” said Anna. To read more about this wonderful project, click here.