Our Services : Pregnancy & Infant Loss

Pregnancy & Infant Loss

Mission Statement

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

Meriter’s Pregnancy & Infant Loss Program

Meriter’s Pregnancy & Infant Loss Program depends on a multidisciplinary approach to caring for grieving families. It is a collaborative effort between physicians, spiritual care, nursing, social work and program staff.

Our Staff

Program Coordinators - Sara Babcock, High Risk Obstetrics CNS and Barb Arnett, LCSW Mother/Baby CNS coordinate Meriter’s Pregnancy & Infant Loss Program. The role of the program coordinator is to manage program planning, coordination, and quality monitoring to ensure that all patients at Meriter Hospital who experience a pregnancy loss or neonatal death receive high quality and compassionate bereavement care. An additional aspect of their role is to provide support and education to Grief Support Staff. The coordinators also work directly with families and carry a caseload of families for whom they provide followup 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. In addition to providing direct one-to-one support, the staff nurse is responsible for the completion of all the necessary forms and documentation.

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 followup 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 two perinatal social workers in Meriter’s 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 and caseload.

When a staff nurse or one of the Grief Support staff identifies family needs that are above and beyond the normal and expected grief reaction she/he should refer the family to a social worker.

Program Support - Mary Buechner, administrative assistant, provides support to the program in many ways. She takes responsibility for ensuring that all program literature, clothing and mementos are in stock and available to the units. She also has an instrumental role in collecting program data and budget information for the program.

Meriter’s Program Components

Early loss care (Outpatient units, ES)

  • Grief information and resources
  • Follow up as needed

Inpatient care (Birthing Center units, NICU)

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 – meets 3rd Thursday of each month?
  • Memorial Service in November and May

Threads of Remembrance

A collection of infant gown designs created through a unique partnership between Meriter Hospital's Pregnancy & Infant Loss Program and the UW-Madison Department of Human Ecology Textile and Apparel Design Division. Gown designs meet the special needs of very tiny infants and support parents' natural grieving process.

Design features:

  • minimize physical manipulation while dressing the infant
  • fabric maintains fetal and infant skin integrity
  • garment proportions are appropriate to the premature and extreme premature infant
  • beautiful embellishments individualize the gown and enhance presentation of the baby to the family