Nursing interventions that help relieve grief

Nursing interventions that help relieve grief

Teresa Cerezo Martínez, Xusa Serra i Llanas, Mari Fe Viso Cano

Department of Nursing, General Hospital Universitary of Catalunya, Spain

The psychological suffering experienced by parents following perinatal loss is extremely hard to endure. We as professionals must reach out to and support parents as from the very moment of death to help them go through their period of mourning in a healthy way. The aim of this project was to discern what interventions on the part of the nursing profession may contribute to alleviating perinatal grief.

The project consisted of a cross-sectional study of a sample of 17 patients who had experienced perinatal loss and had been attended to at the General University Hospital of Catalonia from 2017 to February 2019. Telephone calls were made in accordance with the guidelines of a questionnaire.

The most satisfactory interventions on the part of the nursing profession at the initial moment of perinatal loss proved to be the first support visit (76,47%), holding the baby (64,7%) and photos and footprints (29,41%). Interventions in the mourning process consisted of individual therapy (5,88%) and group therapy (11,76%). After experiencing perinatal loss, 35,29% of mothers became pregnant again.

The initial support visit serves to guide parents in a state of emotional shock. On the other hand, an appropriate farewell and possession of physical objects related with the baby contribute to a healthy process of mourning. The individual and group therapy samples were small, consequently the results are not significant. Lastly, the act of undergoing a healthy mourning process may be regarded as a means to reducing parents’ doubts as to whether or not to have another child.

Ethics statement
The author declares that the anonymity of the parents who constituted the sample and responded to the survey has been scrupulously respected. The telephone calls were made in strict accordance with regular mourning follow-up practice at this hospital institution. Consent was given by telephone during the course of these calls.

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