Hand in Hand Perinatal Palliative Care
What is Hand in Hand?
No one can walk in another's shoes. We can, though, walk Hand in Hand through difficult times. The Hand in Hand Perinatal Palliative Care Program at The Women's Hospital was developed as an extension of our Bereavement Program to expand choices for those families whose unborn babies have been diagnosed with life-limiting conditions.
As a parent honors their baby's life, our team pledges to accompany parents in ways we may know today and in ways that only they can teach us for the future.
Hand in Hand strives to celebrate these babies' lives in every way possible while they are with us and also to honor their precious memories. Our team will support parents and families though their journey and offer recovery through sharing.
This program has been a goal of the Women's Hospital for many years and came true in 2009. See a story about our very first Hand in Hand family here.
Our perinatal palliative care team includes neonatologists, perinatologists,obstetricians, genetic counselors, registered nurses, social workers and clergy. We hope to provide comfort and care to meet physical emotional and spiritual needs of the baby, parents, and additional family or friends.
An advanced care plan will be set up as early as medically possible. Parents will be informed and reassured by the awareness of the need to keep your baby comfortable at all times.
Our team takes all family values, beliefs, rituals and attention to extended caregivers into consideration to the best of our ability.
The voice, opinions and desires of the parents are very important to both them and their baby and therefore, very important to our team.
We support our parents during their walk through this journey. Parents also may have physical reactions to this journey with their child. Some various physical reactions may include:
loss of or increase in appetite
The range of emotions of the parents and family is vast and each of our team members understand the emotional roller coaster ride that occurs with each of our families. Crying, laughter, prayer, even letting out a scream are all very common and understandable emotions to display and we encourage parents to do what is right for them within each particular moment of this journey. We encourage parents and family to monitor themselves for any tendency to withdraw from social interactions.
For Friends and Family
Some friends and family may not know what to say to the baby's parents. They may be afraid to be around the baby or parents. They have not forgotten about the parents or the situation. We encourage parents to ask for family and friends if they need them, when they are ready and want to talk with them. Until that point, our team members will continue to help provide support.
From the Hand in Hand Team
For our parents, we hope to honor each moment, each hour, each day of their child's life. A memory box will be given to them for baby's keepsakes. We provide parents with photographs, hand and foot prints and other mementos of their baby's life.
Bathing, dressing and holding as much as possible are all encouraged and recognized as spiritually rich moments to help enhance memories for parents of their time with their baby. Parents may add their own treasures and mementos to the memory box as they walk through this journey. Our team will be here with the them as they need us.
For more information about the Hand in Hand Perinatal Hospice Program, please contact us at 812/842-4200.