Offering help to grieving families


Kelly Chartrand, Charge Nurse, Maternal/Infant/Child (MIC); Wendy Moulsdale, Nurse Practitioner, PAIL; Cori DuHasky, Eductor, PAIL; and Diana Tremblay, Clinical Educator, MIC show infant casts made during a memory building activity.

Submitted article


Bluewater Health is a partner in a pregnancy loss workshop for caregivers.

The one-day sensitivity training is being co-sponsored by the hospital, Smith Funeral Home and the Pregnancy & Infant Loss (PAIL) Network, and supported through the generosity of the Bluewater Health Children’s Auxiliary and the Erie St. Clair End-of-Life Care Network.

Sixty attendees from across Southwestern Ontario are at the workshop, taking place in the Family Centre at Smith Funeral Home in Sarnia.

“Caregivers in the maternal, infant and child field benefit from training and support to handle the intensity of pregnancy and infant loss,” says Diana Tremblay, RN and Clinical Educator for the Maternal/Infant/Child Program at Bluewater Health. “

This workshop will give caregivers tools to use in bereavement care and offer bedside strategies to support grieving families.” Additional workshop topics include grief theory and application, understanding pregnancy and infant loss, cultural competency and memory building. “

Real-life stories teach us what is important for families during times of intense sorrow and we are very fortunate to have a parent panel as part of the workshop. The parents’ role is to share their experience of care and loss so that participants may learn from them,” said Tremblay.

Parent panel participants, Amanda Sole and Kerry Boot believe that sharing their story will raise awareness and shine a light on the unique needs of parents who have experienced a loss.

“When we were asked to be a part of the parent panel we knew right away that it was something that we had to do. This event is a crucial step in developing a network of compassion and support for these couples who have just lost a member of their family, a person who they have been dreaming about joining their lives from the moment they found out about that baby’s existence,” said Boot.

“I chose to take part in the parent panel to share my story in hopes of giving some insight to those who don’t know how it feels to be on this end of pregnancy loss. I want them to know what they can do to be helpful to a bereaved parent or family during the process, and for them to learn how to leave a positive impression on bereaved families like the everlasting impression my nurse left on our family,” said Sole.

Bluewater Health currently provides support to bereaved families through its Social Work, Spiritual Care and Maternal/Infant/Child Programs. Staff is trained to care for bereaved families, share information on the PAIL Network and other community supports, and provide opportunities for memory collection. Through the support of donors and partners, items such as gowns, hats, blankets, keepsake boxes, bereavement books and photography are also available to parents.