Suffering a miscarriage can be a traumatic event for any woman and their support network, and while a miscarriage requires physical healing, time and attention needs to be paid to the emotional healing as well.
A miscarriage is a pregnancy loss under 20 weeks, and according to the Mayo Clinic, 10-20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage.
At Milford Regional, the majority of women who suffer a miscarriage are treated in the emergency department, surgical day center or infusion suite, and the nurses who care for those patients recognized that while they received great physical care, there was more that could be done to help these women deal with the emotional trauma that occurs with pregnancy loss when they are discharged from the hospital.
A subcommittee was formed, comprised of nurses who work in the emergency department and surgical day suite, nurse manager and four social workers including the maternity social worker. The subcommittee worked for several months to create a comprehensive packet of information to assist these women in the healing process. The packet of information specifically addresses the needs of a woman who has a miscarriage, including a letter to acknowledge the loss, a booklet providing general information about miscarriages, and a listing of pregnancy and loss support groups. The final project was shared with and was well-received by emergency department nurses and physicians, OB/GYNs and many other departments.
“Now we can acknowledge the loss, and people need to feel justified that something happened and that they don’t need to suffer on their own,” says Social Worker Charleen De Stefano, LCSW, who co-chairs the Comfort Care Committee. “It doesn’t matter if you suffered the loss at two weeks or 12 weeks. It doesn’t matter the length of pregnancy, it’s the attachment.”
The folders are available to patients in the emergency department, surgical day center and the infusion suite where many of these patients are treated.
Charleen adds, “MRMC is at the cutting edge of providing this support — acknowledging all losses and footprints through the spectrum including the footprints that are only left on one’s heart.”