As the end of the year fast approaches I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the year that was and to let you know about some of our plans for 2018.
2017 has been a positive and productive year, with our services continuing to grow to meet the needs of bereaved parents throughout Australia.
We’re grateful for a 100% increase in federal government funding, which has enabled us to focus on a number of key areas, including the work on improving bereavement care. We’re also very grateful to the many supporters and fundraisers who very kindly donate and raise funds for Sands which ensure we can continue to support the growing number of bereaved families accessing our services.
Over 3,000 mums and dads or grandparents, family members or friends contacted our volunteer parent supporters with their stories of love, loss and grief. Each story has moved us and cemented our goals to ensure that bereaved parents, no matter where they live in Australia, have access to best practice bereavement care, accurate information, and ongoing support.
We’ve made strong progress in moving towards an organisational model that will better enable us to provide this continuity of service, and in mid-2018 Sands state-based organisations will unify into one single Sands. This will enable us to expand our services into new geographical areas that do not currently have a Sands presence and continue to build a strong grass roots presence across Australia.
2018 will also see us launching Australia’s first bereavement care standards for health professionals. Improving the care and support parents receive in a hospital setting after their baby has died is a significant priority that will make a very real difference to families when they are at their most vulnerable.
To further support this aim we will be developing new training programs for health professionals, and for the first time, funeral directors and employers, to ensure that sensitive care is available for parents long after they’ve left hospital.
We’re thrilled to also be developing a new care package to be distributed to families who’ve not yet left the hospital. The packages will be filled with essential items as well as special keepsakes families can take home in remembrance of their baby.
Sands is fortunate to have an active, passionate and engaged community and we’d like to thank you for your input over the last 12 months. We wish you all a year of peace and comfort look forward to all that 2018 will bring.