COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)- Piedmont Columbus Regional’s Midtown Campus is offering support and guidance services to those experiencing the loss of an infant through a program called Rachel’s Gift.
Rachel’s Gift is a nonprofit organization created by Lori Beth Blaney that partners with hospitals to help families through the grieving process after the loss of an infant. The program trains nurses and other hospital staff to assist and companion patients through the loss.
The training can vary from department to department on how to best be of service to families grieving the loss of an infant.
Joey Martin, Coordinator of Education for Women’s Services at Piedmont Columbus Regional, said that this program gives nurses the needed information to assist the parents more than just physically but also emotionally.
“It really has equipped the nurses with tools and knowhow to champion for those parents and companion them through this process,” said Martin.
Rachel’s Gift offers several keepsakes to grieving family members while they are at the hospital to help remember their child.
“That is actually a physical connection to their baby that they really get to spend very little time with before they have to say goodbye,” said Martin.
Included in the keepsakes is a Molly Bear. Molly Bears were created for when mothers feel the need to hold their child, also known as Empty Arm Syndrome. The bears are customized to the baby’s weight, gender, and name.
Martin said that the program also tries to help all members of the family, including siblings, by sharing the resources provided by Rachel’s Gift.
“They know that something has happened andincluding them in the care is very important for their transition to deal with the loss,” said Martin.
Rachel’s Gift does not only give support and guidance during the family’s stay at the hospital but also afterwards. The families receive letters throughout the first year after their loss and are connected with support groups for others who have experienced the loss of an infant.