Dear Hospital Caregiver,
H.A.N.D. is a non-profit, peer support group for parents whose babies have died at anytime from conception through late infancy. For over twenty years H.A.N.D. has been serving Houston area families in their time of need. We have been helping bereaved parents deal with their grief, assisting them in understanding and coping with changes in their interpersonal relationships and helping them find their "new normal."
As a healthcare professional, you will be among the first to know that a woman has experienced a loss: sometimes becoming aware of that loss even before the woman herself. Because of this, you are in a unique position to provide the kind of positive intervention that can start her and her partner, along the road toward a healthy resolution of the loss. Both women and men often either regard their feelings about the events immediately surrounding their loss as among the most hurtful and difficult to resolve, or these events can provide them with memories which bring them comfort and peace, knowing they did all they could to bond with and simultaneously say goodbye to their baby.
As the loss is rarely anticipated, they will need your help to become aware of, and to understand all of the options that are available to them at the time of their loss. We have enclosed information designed to guide your interaction with patients who have experienced a perinatal loss. Please feel free to copy and share it with other office and hospital staff, or with anyone else for whom you feel it might be helpful. H.A.N.D. also welcomes the opportunity to provide additional staff training and inservice education.
As an aid to the bereavement process, H.A.N.D. has a special "Teddy Bear" to be provided to the parent(s) who have experienced the loss. Due to the cost of these, we ask that these "Teddy Bears" be distributed to parents who are issued a death certificate for their loss. We also understand that you see their pain first hand and leave this to your discretion. You are so important to the parents at this time. If you or your staff would like to contribute to the cost of the bears, please call the H.A.N.D. helpline. H.A.N.D. is a non-profit organization dependent on donations. These bears are something for parents to hold on to when they go home with empty arms and no baby.
H.A.N.D. meets the the 2nd Sunday of each month from 6:30-8:30pm at Chapelwood United Methodist Church in Houston (although the church provides us space, we are not affiliated with it). A separate group is provided for couples that are dealing with a subsequent pregnancy following a loss. For information about meetings, times, and locations please call (832) 752-1919 at any time.
We also hope you will share with your patients the number for H.A.N.D.'s telephone support line (832) 752-1919 and encourage them to attend monthly meetings. Because H.A.N.D. is totally run by volunteer parents it is necessary for the support line to be answered by a machine. This also helps to ensure that when talking with newly bereaved parents they will have our complete attention. All calls are returned within 48 hours.
Thank You for your support to newly bereaved parents.