Reaching Out in a Time of Loss
Conway Regional's Perinatal Bereavement Program offers a personal, long-term approach to serving those whose lives have touched by the tragic loss of an infant during early pregnancy, stillbirth or during the the first few months after birth.
The staff of the Conway Regional Women's Center knows that such a loss can be devastating without support. This is why the Conway Regional Perinatal Program focuses on the unique needs of individual families. We understand that cultural, religious and personal diversity affects how each individual responds to feelings of grief and mourning.
"It's extremely difficult for friends and family, as well as professional caregivers, to know what to say and do to comfort couples who have lost children."--- Tricia O'Connor. Tricia and husband, Rob, lost a child in 2005 and helped establish the Perinatal Bereavement Program at Conway Regional.
Our services include support from conception through the first few months after the infant is born. A full-time bereavement coordinator develops a plan to serve the needs of each family. Our bereavement coordinator is accedited by RTS Bereavement Services and Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc.
Providing bereavement support is more than just the role of one person, so the obstetrics staff in Women's Center has been trained in techniques that are designed to help parents through the grieving process.
How Perinatal Bereavement Supports Grieving Families:
- The first step is to talk to the family and determine the best way to remember their loved one. Memory boxes, photos, poems, pieces of clothing, baby blankets, a baby ring that parents can wear around their necks, handprints, footprints, a lock of hair and numerous other keepsakes help establish those memories.
- Help in planning the memorial service is also available as well as graveside support during this difficult time.
Conway Regional has begun an annual Walk to Remember to continue to lift up these tiny loved ones. It will be held October 12, 2013 with check-in at 10:00 am and the Remembrance Ceremony at 11:00 am at the Conway High School, John McConnell Stadium. Balloons are released in recognition of loved ones.
How to Help
While the support and care that is available to grieving families is absolutely free, financial contributions are accepted from the community to help replenish memory boxes, books and other keepsakes for families. For instance, memory boxes are $40 and a book is $10. For details about directing a private donation to the Perinatal Bereavement Program at Conway Regional, call (501) 513-5778.
Bereavement Services at Conway Regional
Services provided by the interdisciplinary bereavement support team:
- Assessment of individual needs by bereavement support staff
- Individual funeral and memorial service planning for stillbirth and neonatal death through parents' choice of funeral home. These are obtained free.
- Patient education materials and appropriate literature packet, including the book, "Mommy, Please Don't Cry" by local author Linda DeYmaz.
- Photographs, Memory Box, certificates of birth, baptism, and/or blessing as appropriate
- Patient chocies of post-partrum room (maternity or gyn) decisions about care (whether to hold, see, dress infant) and choosing family participation
- Separate quiet room for families and consultation
- Guidance in completing and compliance with state mandated forms related to loss
- Follow-up care for at least a year with cards, phone calls or office visits with the bereavement coordinator
- Referrals for complicated grief, coordinated with patient's obstetrician
- Sibling support with regard to development age (done with parent participation)
- Lending library of books and videos on related topics
- 24-hour availability of trained support staff
- Dealing with anxiety/fears when planning a subsequent pregnancy
The Perinatal Bereavement Program is funded by the Conway Regional Health Foundation through grants, donations and memorial tributes. There is no charge to any patient for these services.
Click here to donate to the Perinatal Bereavement Program.
For more information about the bereavement program, contact:
Perinatal Bereavement Program
2302 College Avenue
Conway, Arkansas 72034