Friday, December 7, 2012

MGHfC programs offer support for staff, patients and families

Caring for Caregivers: Mills and Ritucci

Rest and rejuvenation

Diane Mills, RN, of the MGH Vincent Obstetrics & Gynecology Labor and Delivery Unit, and Julie Ritucci, administrative director of Finance for MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), were two of the staff members who participated in the “Tea and Empathy” event held Nov. 13 in the Ellison 17 conference room. Hosted by the Pediatric Palliative Care Service, the event was open to all staff who care for children. “The event is an opportunity for staff to rest, rejuvenate and connect with one another. Caregivers need caring for too,” says Sandra Clancy, PhD, MGHfC Palliative Care Service manager and patient advocate. The room was transformed with small tables, chairs, lamps and classical music to provide a calm and inviting setting for drinking tea and eating homemade treats. The group plans to host its next Tea and Empathy event next spring.

Embracing love and loss

“Our daughter left me a legacy of hope and a blessing of compassion,” said one parent. “Working with families who experience loss has made me a better doctor,” an emergency room physician said. “For that one moment, everything was perfect,” said another grieving parent. These were just a
few of the remarks heard during the 21st annual MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Pediatric, Neonatal and Obstetric Memorial Service held Nov. 4

The service is dedicated to MGH families who have experienced the death of a child from infancy through adolescence, including miscarriage or stillbirth. “During the service, several bereaved parents shared heartfelt stories and poems to remember their beloved children. Others counseled families who had experienced more recent losses, describing the importance of asking from their partner and families what they need ‘right now’ and how to become strong and cope on this journey no one plans for,” says Leslie Kerzner, MD, neonatal intensivist, who provided welcoming remarks.

Parents, families and friends were invited to participate in a naming ceremony and were given pewter hearts and daffodil bulbs to plant in memory of their children. Each family held a lit candle, shared a moment of silence, and read together the prayer, “We Remember Them.” Many families hung decorated fabric memorials that will be placed in a memorial scrapbook. Following the service, a reception was held in the East Garden Room.

The service, hosted by the Comfort and Support After Loss Committee, also included remarks from Lauren Allister, MD, Emergency Services physician; Courtney Craig, RN, of the MGH Vincent Obstetrics & Gynecology Department; and Nancy Leventhal, LICSW, of MGH Social Services, who moderated the service. Pediatric Chaplain Kate Gerne led a thoughtful reflection and Felix Duran, of MGH Interpreter Services, welcomed Spanish-speaking guests. The event included a musical performance by Lorrie Kubicek, MGHfC music therapist; a photo slideshow, organized by April Kim, RN, of Vincent Obstetrics & Gynecology; and fun activities for younger attendees at the MGH Backup Childcare Center, organized by Heidi Jupp, RN, of the MGHfC Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit.

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