Continuing Education
  • Reproductive Grief Care Throughout the Perioperative Experience: Giving Permission to Grieve

    Approximately two million couples experience reproductive loss every year in the United States. The perioperative experience for a patient grieving a perinatal loss requires empathetic and sensitive pregnancy loss support from the entire healthcare staff (Wool & Catlin, 2019). Reproductive grief reactions in comparison to traditional types of mourning experiences (i.e. death of a parent or sibling) have been associated with more chronic mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic distress, substance abuse, eating disorders, and diminished or distressed attachment with subsequent children (Bennett, Litz, Maguen, & Ehrenreich, 2008; Daugirdaite, van den Akker, & Satvinder, 2015; Hughes, Turton, Hopper, & Evans, 2002). Patients and their families often report a lack of emotional validation and minimization of their grief by the healthcare providers they encountered during or shortly after the loss (Watson, Simmonds, La Fontaine, & Fockler, 2019). Nurses and medical providers often cite a lack of knowledge, inexperience in using effective perinatal bereavement communication skills (e.g. fear of saying the wrong thing), and negative emotions concurrent with compassion fatigue as the reasons for their emotionally avoidant or irreverent behaviors during a perinatal loss (Harris, 2015; Hutti et al., 2016; Lang et al., 2011). This interactive workshop provides medical professionals with the skills to positively impact the grief trajectory by helping them identify a reproductive loss and communicate a more empathetic and sensitive approach with the bereaved. (1 Class A CE)