10/22/04 — 'Walk to Remember' to be held this weekend

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'Walk to Remember' to be held this weekend

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 22, 2004 1:59 PM

A "Walk to Remember" will be held this weekend as a way for loved ones to acknowledge the loss of a baby.

Gethney Hill, director of nursing services in the prenatal unit at Wayne Memorial Hospital, said the event will be a good way to raise sensitivity to what people go through.

"Every year about 870,000 die through some form of pregnancy loss," she said, whether it is stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or other newborn deaths.

"This walk is for parents, friends and health-care professionals as a way of uniting people who have experienced loss."

Participants are asked to gather at the flagpole in front of the hospital at 4 on Sunday afternoon. After a brief ceremony, they will walk two laps around the hospital, concluding with the releasing of balloons.

The walk began in 1988 as part of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Ms. Hill said. This is the first time the hospital has participated.

Ms. Hill said her department also sends out grief packets that contain community resources and remembrance gifts to commemorate the family's loss.

Wayne County Cooperative Extension and Wayne County Extension and Community Association have donated blankets and gowns and little caps for inclusion in the packets.

It is just one more way Wayne Memorial is responding to the needs of its patients, Ms. Hill said. Two years ago, a bereavement program was started at the hospital and recently a perinatal grief task force was begun.

Debbie Allen, director of nursing services on the seventh floor, said the staff recognized the importance of doing more for grieving families.

"We're taking care of the patients but often are taking care of the families just as much," she said.

Ms. Allen said classes have been offered to the oncology staff covering the stages of grief and how to help families through the process.

"As a nurse, you get some of that in nursing school but not much," she said.

The staff also sends cards to the family after a patient dies, followed up with phone calls from the hospital chaplain. A few months later, a packet of information is mailed to the family with resources about support groups and such.

The classes have been expanded to include the perinatal unit and will go hospital-wide next year.

"We as a staff have to deal with it and we want the patient and family to feel like we care," Ms. Allen said. "We do remember them and we want to help them through this."