Meeting the Challenges of Perinatal Bereavement Support Through Collaboration and Innovation
Article first published online: 11 JUN 2013
© 2013 AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing
Special Issue: 2013 Convention Proceedings
Volume 42, Issue s1, pages S15–S16, June 2013
How to Cite
Kemplin, K. (2013), Meeting the Challenges of Perinatal Bereavement Support Through Collaboration and Innovation. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 42: S15–S16. doi: 10.1111/1552-6909.12068
- Issue published online: 11 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 11 JUN 2013
- perinatal loss;
Purpose for the Program
To better meet the needs of the patient and families who experience perinatal loss and those of the staff providing care.
To improve and expand the perinatal bereavement program in response to staff, patients, and community feedback.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
The perinatal bereavement committee was expanded to include staff from labor and delivery, neonatal intensive care unit, mother–baby unit, genetic counseling, pastoral care, and nursing leadership. The committee identified opportunities for improvement in staff education, and the need to increase and improve processes for the respectful and individualized care of patients and infants. The existing process for burial was cost prohibitive for many families and confusing to implement. In response to these concerns, contact was made with the hospital's Foundation to identify financial resources to make this service accessible to all families who experience perinatal loss. We partnered with community resources, such as The Alexis Foundation, Linnemann Funeral Home, the HEARTS peer led support group and volunteers, to provide improved quality of care and tools. Tools include handmade blankets and hats, memory boxes individualized for gestational age, PresHand carriers for the respectful transport and handling of these infants, and brochures to assist patients and families in their journey through the grief process. Nursing management provided encouragement and financial support for the development and implementation of education for all nursing staff.
Implications for Nursing Practice
Collaboration within the healthcare system and the community affects the care we give our patients. Education and quality tools empower nurses to give individualized and respectful care to patients and infants. As a Magnet hospital, St. Elizabeth Healthcare continually focuses on the importance of collaboration and innovation to improve patient care and the enhancement of professional growth and development of nurses.