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MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2010 Nov-Dec;35(6):316-21; quiz 321-3. doi: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e3181f0eef8.

The tie that binds: relationships in perinatal bereavement.

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  • 1Bereavement and Advance Care Planning Services, Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation, Inc., La Crosse, WI, USA.


Relationship is a central concept to the delivery of quality perinatal bereavement care. This article explores relevant bereavement research and clinically based writings about relationship in the care of families experiencing perinatal loss. Focusing on relationship provides a framework to guide interventions that will be perceived as meaningful and helpful to grieving parents. From the moment parents learn the difficult news of their baby's poor prognosis or death, nurses must strive to establish trust while building an effective working relationship with the family. A nurse with an understanding of the relationship needs can guide parents in creating a context for supporting each family member dealing with this unexpected family tragedy. Through sensitive follow-up bereavement care, nurses provide a source of hope for grieving families over time. Ultimately, nurses must find meaningful ways of self-care as a way of reinvesting in future relationship with other grieving families.

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