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Bayhealth Staff Help Patients Cope with Perinatal Loss

October 11, 2018

The loss of a loved one is difficult, but the loss of an infant or unborn child is especially hard. At Bayhealth, we help patients cope with all losses. We also have staff trained specifically in perinatal loss, including Women’s Services Registered Nurse and Bereavement Coordinator Beth Lucas, BSN, RNC-MNN.

“If a mother is experiencing a loss of her baby, we provide the most compassionate care and support to her and her family,” said Lucas. “Even though each family situation is different, Bayhealth staff want to provide a gold standard of care to everyone.”

BAYHEALTH’S BASIC STEPS FOR HELPING PERINATAL LOSS PATIENTS

  1. Staff put a rose card on the patient’s room door to signify the patient is experiencing a loss. The card is a symbol of honor and also serves as awareness for staff.
  2. The patient’s family is provided a cart with water, tea, coffee, and snacks courtesy of Patient Advocacy and Food and Nutrition Services. 
  3. Staff offers to play Brahms’ Lullaby over the hospital intercom in honor of the baby, just as they do for all babies when they’re born.
  4. Mementos and other items are offered to patients such as hand-painted memory boxes; baby gowns made from donated wedding gowns; prayer squares; and impressions of hands and feet.
  5. Staff provides information and education on how the mother can care for herself and on grief support for her as well as friends and family.

Bayhealth also has a Bereavement Team that provides patient support as well as hosts Perinatal Loss Remembrance Ceremonies. In addition, it recently launched a new dedicated email BayhealthAngels_Support@Bayhealth.org for families that have experienced a loss to use to reach out to staff for support, resources and answers to any questions they may have.

“Bayhealth nurses are very supportive of all perinatal loss patients,” said Women’s Services Senior Nurse Manager Kathryn Starr Lynch, BNS, RNC-OB. There’s also a perinatal loss training course called Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) that teaches them how to best handle these situations.

Lucas and Lynch conduct RTS training at Bayhealth not only for the nurses, but for other staff to help ensure everyone is prepared. It also includes parents from the community so they may share their personal experiences to further help the staff handle perinatal loss situations. “We all have to work together to provide compassionate support to those who are experiencing a loss,” said Lucas.

Visit Bayhealth.org/Womens-Childrens-Health to learn about our other programs and services for women and children.