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Sue Steen, adjunct Professor of Nursing Bethel University. Perinatal Nurse Navigator Maple Grove Hospital.
Literature from many sources and organizations around the world overwhelmingly supports the importance of respectful care for families experiencing the loss of a baby (Boyle, 2019; Flenady, 2014; International Stillbirth Alliance; SANDS; Shakespeare, 2020; Umamanita). As a consequence of society’s view of perinatal death, parents often grieve alone, intensifying their grief and making bereavement interventions even more important (Tizon, 2006).
Research has shown that “…. it is necessary to recognize the needs of parents in gestational loss. It is also necessary to develop a specific line of training for accompaniment in this type of bereavement aimed at healthcare professionals who intervene at any stage during the process” (Martinez-Serrano, 2019).
"High quality bereavement care should be provided through training of healthcare staff to reduce stigma and establish respectful care, including acknowledgement and support for grief responses, and provision for physical and psychological needs. Women should be supported to make informed choices" (Shakespeare, 2020).
Themes from the literature tell us that bereaved parents want compassion, time, safe space, support, and to be informed. How do we best provide this for our families? One family expressed their needs in this way, “I would have liked somebody to have come and said to me: stay alone for a while, say good-bye to him or talk to him, don’t be afraid” (Martinez-Serrano 2019). Parents have no idea how or where to begin the birth process and they need guidance. Along with training staff, we must create an individualized plan of care or a bereavement program that honors the identified needs of bereaved families (Martinez-Serrano 2019, Steen 2019).
Host: Dr. Félix Castillo Salinas, Dr. Fátima Camba Longueira, Neonatal Service. Vall d'Hebron University Hospital
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