Baystate Health Foundation received a $22,500 Community Impact Grant from New York Life to support the expansion of pediatric bereavement program at Baystate Children’s Hospital. These services are designed to help families who have experienced the death of a child at Baystate Medical Center.
Immediate past chair of the Baystate Health Foundation Board of Trustees and current board member Jean Deliso, CFP®, president/owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services and an agent with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office, assisted Baystate Health Foundation team secure the grant to help patients at Baystate Health.
“The pain felt by the loss of a child is immeasurable. I’m honored to work with a company like New York Life that recognizes the importance of this type of support, which Baystate offers to its families,” said Jean.
The grant supports attendance for five multidisciplinary staff members at the National Association for Grieving Children Conference in June 2020. Attendees will then return from the conference and share their knowledge at in-service education sessions for key pediatric team members who may support families through the loss of a child. More than 100 members of the Baystate Medical Center team will benefit from this shared education program.
Baystate Children’s Hospital has developed a hospital-wide pediatric bereavement committee charged with improving experiences for families and providing team member education across all pediatric units. The committee includes representation from nurses, physicians, chaplain services, social work, child life, and includes family advisors who have been through the loss of a child. The program serves all pediatric units where a child may pass, including the Sadowsky Family Pediatric Emergency Department, the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the Davis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and the Children’s and Adolescent’s Unit.
“The loss of a child brings immeasurable grief and affects the entire family. Our pediatric team works closely together to guide families through this incredibly difficult process and we want to do all we can to continue to improve this experience and ensure families feel as supported as possible,” shared Jessie Hagerman, Manager of Child Life & Healing Arts. “We’re so grateful to New York Life for giving us the opportunity to provide further education and information to our pediatric team members, along with improved resources for families to help them remember their child and process their grief beyond their time with us in the hospital.”
Currently, team members work with families at the time of their loss to help ease the pain that caregivers and siblings may be experiencing. Whether the loss is anticipated or sudden, they are guided through the process in a way that best meets their families’ individual needs and are given the tools to help them understand the next steps in their grief journey and information about grief resources available in the community. They are also given options for memory-making items, when permitted, like hand-prints or locks of hair. A portion of this grant will go toward supporting additional options for memory making to aid families in their grieving process.