Pregnancy and Infant Loss Program
Recognizing that perinatal loss is a unique lifelong parenting and bereavement experience, the mission is to actively develop a common standard of excellence, which assures that services are provided to bereaved families through an interdisciplinary and holistic approach.
The Pregnancy & Infant Loss Program utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to caring for grieving families. It is a collaborative effort between physicians, spiritual care, nursing, social work and program staff.
Program Coordinators - Sara Babcock, High-Risk Obstetrics CNS and Barb Arnett, LCSW coordinate the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Program. The role of the program coordinator is to manage program planning, coordination, and quality monitoring to ensure that all patients at UnityPoint Health - Meriter hospital who experience a pregnancy loss or neonatal death receive high quality and compassionate bereavement care. The coordinators also work directly with families and carry a caseload of families for whom they provide follow-up support.
Staff Nurse - The role of the staff nurse is to provide anticipatory guidance, empathetic support, information, and options to parents from the time of admission until discharge from the hospital. The staff nurse is to follow and carry out the standard of care for bereaved families on his/her unit.
Grief Support Staff - Grief Support staff are members of the health care team (nurses, chaplains, social workers and genetic counselors) who have completed a bereavement counselor training program. The main difference between the role of a staff nurse and the Grief Support staff is that in addition to providing anticipatory guidance, empathetic support, information, and options, Grief Support staff provide follow-up support to parents for up to one year or for as long as the Grief Support counselor deems necessary. Grief Support staff do not provide mental health counseling or therapy. They function in a supportive role to bereaved families. Grief Support staff will refer families to the appropriate community mental health professional if families' grief becomes complicated by other factors.
Social Worker - The perinatal social workers in the program have been trained as Grief Support staff. The social workers may function as grief support staff for some families and as social workers for other families, depending on the need.
Program Support - there is administrative support to the program including all program literature, clothing and mementos are in stock and available to the units. There is also support collecting program data and budget information for the program.
Early loss care (e.g. Prenatal Ultrasound, Emergency Department)
- Grief information and resources
- Follow up as needed
Late loss care (e.g. Birthing Center, NICU)
- Grief literature
- Memory boxes
- Follow up care
- Phone calls – periodically in the first year with additional calls as needed
- Cards – Sympathy, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Holiday
- Referrals – patients provider, mental health counseling
- Bereaved Parents Support Group
- Memorial Service in Fall and Spring