A family bereaved by stillbirth or early infant death typically has little time with their baby before a final goodbye. But thanks to a generous donation from Ashlie’s Embrace, Lake Health now has CuddleCots to allow families to stay with their child in the hospital for a prolonged period as they begin the grieving process.
CuddleCots, which are made in the United Kingdom, feature a cooling system designed to preserve an infant’s body for up to 72 hours. The system’s portable cooling pad can be placed in a Moses basket, crib or bed, allowing an infant to remain in the hospital room with the parents and family. This extra time together allows families to bond with their babies—to hold them, take pictures and create memories that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
Following a complication free pregnancy, Erin and Anthony Maroon were shocked when their daughter, Ashlie, was stillborn at 41 weeks. Devastated that they were only able to spend a short time with their child after her birth, the Northeast Ohio couple founded the nonprofit Ashlie’s Embrace (ashliesembrace.org) in 2015 to raise money to purchase CuddleCots, which cost $3,000 each, for hospitals in Ohio and throughout the United States.
Ashlie’s Embrace co-founder Erin Maroon believes the CuddleCot allows families to create memories by offering time with the child. The Maroons feel it’s important that every single US hospital has a CuddleCot because it offers families choices and more time—two things they didn’t have but so badly needed. To date, the organization has placed more than 50 CuddleCots in 10 states in their daughter’s honor, with the goal to donate more.
“We’re so grateful for this generous donation of CuddleCots,” says Jennifer DiGeronimo, RN, nurse manager of Lake Health’s West Family Birthing Unit. “It will give families the opportunity to spend time with their child, care for them and love them, as these will be the only moments they’ll have with their child.”
Lake Health’s CuddleCots—one at TriPoint Medical Center and one at West Medical Center—have become a vital component of the services offered to bereaved families including photography, mementos and specialized grief support resources.
“CuddleCots provide grieving families with what they need more than anything else: time. We’re extremely grateful for the Maroon’s generous donation, which will provide some comfort to families facing the immeasurable sorrow and heartbreak of infant loss,” says Cynthia Moore-Hardy, FACHE, president and CEO of Lake Health.