As Pregnancy & Infancy Loss Awareness Month comes to a close, we wanted to highlight the HEAL (Help Endure A Loss) Porgram at Atrium Medical Center, a local resource that is doing incredible things for families facing the loss of a baby. Whether the baby was lost at 6 weeks gestation, or 6 weeks after birth, perinatal loss and grief is an important thing for our culture to recognize and support. Allison Campbell, one of the HEAL Coordinators shared with us some of the many ways that Atrium is providing that much-needed care to the community.
HEAL was founded by Sherry, an OB nurse at Atrium who experienced her own loss, over 20 years ago. Since that time the program has grown considerably, serving families from all over the greater Cincinnati and Dayton region, not just those who have delivered or received care at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown. All of the services provided by HEAL are free to the community, thanks to private donations and the support of the Atrium Foundation.
HEAL Community Services
The following are some of the many amazing resources that HEAL offers to surrounding region (a complete description of each is available at their website):
- HEALing Together: Community Support Group for all families who have experienced the loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy or during infancy
- The HEAL Memory Garden at Atrium for families to go and quietly reflect
- Pavers and plantings for this space can also be purchased
- Annual Memorial Service for families who have experienced a miscarriage
- HEAL Festival in the summer for the whole family
- Walk to Remember in the fall
- Memory Tree Lighting at Christmas
The HEAL program and coordinators are available to anyone who is currently experiencing an infant death, stillbirth, or a miscarriage. We are very impressed by the many ways that Atrium seeks to honor and validate each family’s experience, and help them to navigate the unimaginable with immense compassion. At Atrium:
- OB Nurses receive in-house training and direct support in supporting families facing a loss at any gestation.
- ER staff also receive training and direct support from HEAL in helping to compassionately serve patients who may endure a miscarriage while in the ER.
- Families in both Labor & Delivery or in the ER have access to many special mementos, including appropriate sized clothing, diapers, and the option for photography to help them remember their loved one, and facilitate long-term healing.
- The Labor & Delivery floor has a very large, dedicated room on a quiet hallway set aside solely for families experiencing a loss. This allows recovering mothers to receive the very best care from the nursing staff, and also have a place to grieve with family. This room also includes a Cuddle Cot, which allows families to have extended time to build precious memories with their stillborn baby.
- HEAL will assist families in coordinating with local funeral homes, cemeteries, social workers, and clergy to take some of the logistical burden off their shoulders.
- The program is also dedicated to providing education and informational support to families enduring any loss, and specifically a miscarriage.
Find Out More
If you would like more information about the HEAL program, including meeting and event times and dates, visit their website, or you can contact the HEAL office at (513) 974-4056 or email them at email@example.com.
If you are interested in making a donation to help HEAL to continue to be able to provide all of these services to the community free of charge, please visit atriummedcenter.org/donate or you can call (513) 974-5144.