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Professor Nicholas Embleton

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Professor Nicholas Embleton, Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician at one of the largest NICUs in the UK, emphasised the importance of humanity in a technicalised and medicalised world, since parents will remember exactly how HCPs made them feel – even 30 years later. His extensive qualitative research over the past 15 years ultimately led to the Butterfly Project.

Focusing on situations where one infant passes away from a multiple pregnancy, the Butterfly Project explores the pivotal role HCPs play in shaping parents’ journey through grief beyond the neonatal unit. Caregivers can make a meaningful difference for grieving parents by reflecting on the words they use and how they act on ward rounds.

The Butterfly cot cards, developed following feedback from parents and caregivers, facilitate communication and enable more authentic connections among parents on the neonatal ward. They can be placed on incubators, nearby the cot side, or could also be clipped to maternal health records, so affected parents can be recognised by other parents and HCPs.

The project, however, goes beyond the Butterfly symbol: It offers guidelines in multiple languages, initiated a film project as well as an online learning course.

Join us in fostering empathy and support for grieving parents by embracing the Butterfly Project’s principles. Visit www.neonatalbutterflyproject.org to get involved today.