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The Loss of a Lifetime
Transcript of The Loss of a Lifetime
Providing counseling may help facilitate the grief response that occurs during this traumatic event.
IT SOUNDS SO EASY THOUGH RIGHT?
Nurses may find themselves simultaneously providing physical and emotional care for the woman, while having to manage their own emotions
Perceived time and financial constraints, colleagues' attitudes and lack of knowledge leading nurses to practice against their ideals
No education/training in providing high quality perinatal bereavement care
No peer support
Nurses see themselves as caring, but while caring they become vulnerable and therefore experience grief as well
Do not know how to appropriately deal with parent's loss
Vol XCIII, No. 311
"There is NO foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world"
How we can use this information
What happens when many nurses find it "difficult to provide perinatal bereavement care" (Evans, 2012, 37)?
Between nurses often being trained at focusing on treating the physical aspects of miscarriage and unsure of how to approach the grieving mother, a woman experiencing miscarriage can leave the hospital unaware of how to deal with her emotions.
The Loss of a Lifetime
Miscarriage is often unexpected and in most cases, unexplainable. Patients experiencing this loss voiced the need for sensitive and supportive nursing care.
Do not get caught up in mere physical treatment
Do not portray commonly held beliefs...
"it is nature's way"
"it just wasn't meant to be"
there is always the next time"
Do not interpret all instances of miscarriage as bereavement
Treat a pregnancy loss at 5 weeks as less significant than one at 20
Do not lead the woman to believe she caused this by lifting, working, not resting, etc.
Try not to care for the patient if you have no training in bereavement or experience with death
Brooklyn Volk & Sarah Rohr
Give clear explanations
Give the women the opportunity to discuss the implications of various options. Offering a choice in how their miscarriage is managed results in better psychological outcomes, including "reduced emotional disturbances, anger and depression" (Evans, 2012, 37).
Make women feel safe and in control
Provide the women with written information when available
Language and cultural barriers should be taken into consideration where appropriate
Recognize their experience as individual
Validate their unique experience
Always say "I am sorry for your loss"
Counsel on strategies to tell family and friends
Discuss normal & abnormal grief responses with both partners if applicable
Provide reassurance for the future
Offer strategies to increase chances of future pregnancy (ie. Folic acid supplements, weight loss, lifestyle choice (smoking))
Notice a common theme?
by implementing and making education and training programs for nursing staff available, enhancing communication skills, and providing support programs for nurses who may be experiencing emotional stress, nurses will better be able to provide sensitive and supportive care while managing their own emotions.
(Catholic Chapter House, 2013)
(College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Manitoba, 2012)
How nurses can provide improved perinatal bereavement care