Perinatal bereavement and palliative care offered throughout the healthcare system
The aims of this article are twofold: (I) provide a general overview of perinatal bereavement services throughout the healthcare system and (II) identify future opportunities to improve bereavement services, including providing resources for the creation of standardized care guidelines, policies and educational opportunities across the healthcare system. Commentary is provided related to maternal child services, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), prenatal clinics, operating room (OR) and perioperative services, emergency department (ED), ethics, chaplaincy and palliative care services. An integrated system of care increases quality and safety and contributes to patient satisfaction. Physicians, nurses and administrators must encourage pregnancy loss support so that regardless of where in the facility the contact is made, when in the pregnancy the loss occurs, or whatever the conditions contributing to the pregnancy ending, trained caregivers are there to provide bereavement support for the family and palliative symptom management to the fetus born with a life limiting condition. The goal for respectful caregiving throughout an entire hospital system is achievable and critically important.