On November 13, 2015 Heartstrings partnered with Guilford County hospitals and Ob/Gyn practices to address a well-known problem among Heartstrings families: lack of sufficient, compassionate care before, during and after the loss of a baby.
The painful details of losing a baby are vividly retained by parents for years, often more so than the birth of a healthy baby, and the traumatic experience ultimately encompasses much more than the actual loss. Beginning with the first indication that a pregnancy is at risk and continuing through subsequent medical visits, there are multiple opportunities for compassionate care. Physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, midwives, genetic counselors, sonographers, and administrative staff all have the opportunity to positively or negatively impact a patient’s experience. Through programs like Practicing Hope: Best Practices in Caring for Parents Experiencing Fetal and Infant Loss, Heartstrings is working with the medical community to improve the parents’ experience. For medical practices and hospitals, this is more than about compassion, it is about retention. Numerous Heartstrings parents have made the choice to switch to a different Ob/Gyn practice because of inadequate bereavement support received during and after their loss.
At the half-day conference held in Millis Regional Health Education Center in High Point, participants learned about the range of grief reactions that bereaved parents experience, cultural and religious influences that impact response to loss, unique care plans for patients, and powerful protocol adjustments across all departments. A panel of Heartstrings parents provided firsthand feedback about opportunities for improved support. Northwest AHEC provided 4.0 hours in continuing education credits. Practicing Hope endorsements included:
“One of the best, if not THE best, continuing education class I have attended.” “I learned so much both to increase sensitivity but also in clear suggestions to implement.” “the support starts with the front desk staff and continues on every level. Educating ALL of us is vital!”
Heartstrings will offer Practicing Hope annually to ensure training is available on a regular basis to address staff turnover at Ob/Gyn practices and hospitals. Heartstrings also provides Consultation and Facilitated Training for individual practices to develop and implement leading best practices in bereavement support, thus providing consistent, high-quality care to patients.
For information, visit www.heartstringssupport.org or call 336.335.9931
The 40+ dedicated professionals who attended Practicing Hope in November 2015 represent the following organizations/departments:
High Point Regional - UNC Health Care, departments represented: Behavioral Health, Women's Services, Childbirth Suite, Nursery, Spiritual Care, Surgery Center, Emergency Room, Imaging Department, Administration UNC Regional Physicians Ob/Gyn - High Point
Pinewest Ob/Gyn - High Point
Guilford County DHHS - Department of Public Health - Greensboro
Cone Health - Women's Hospital - GreensboroCone Health - Encompass Women's Care Ob/Gyn - Burlington
Cumberland County Health Department - Fayetteville