Perinatal Supportive & Palliative Care
Perinatal Supportive & Palliative Care
At a time that’s supposed to be joyful, bad news can fill a parent’s heart with grief. Although it’s rare, doctors sometimes diagnose a life-threatening or life-limiting condition in babies before they are born.
If your baby isn’t expected to survive, or your time together will be short, we offer specialized care. At Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, our perinatal palliative care team helps ease pain, grief and suffering while offering family-centered assistance throughout this difficult time.
Through our Forget-Me-Not program, specialists provide support, resources and services during pregnancy and throughout any limited time you may have with your baby after birth. You and your family are not alone.
Our Forget-Me-Not program encompasses a wide range of services and support during pregnancy and childbirth when your newborn isn’t expected to survive or live more than a short while.
Our step-by-step care includes these and other types of support:
- Decision-making assistance – We’ll help you with complex medical decisions, especially during times when you may feel overwhelmed.
- Perinatal palliative care – Your care team will work with you to provide pain and symptom relief for your baby and you.
- Birth plan – We’ll help you to develop an individualized plan based on your family’s wishes and values regarding hospital care. Your plan will include the things that are important to you, such as pain management, family involvement and spiritual support.
- Coordination of care – You’re always involved in setting care goals. We coordinate seamless services across medical specialties, keeping all of your care providers up to date on your family’s plans and preferences.
- Information and guidance – We keep you and your family informed about health care and community resources available to support you. We offer assistance with other plans, too, such as hospice, finding home care support and memorial arrangements.
- Grief support – You can count on personal care, grief counseling, support groups and intensive support for you and your family. We’re here for you during your hospital stay as well as for follow-up after you leave the hospital.
- Memory making – To honor and remember your baby, we provide photographs and keepsakes for your family to treasure.
If your newborn is expected to survive for a short period of time after birth, our pediatric palliative care specialists provide extended guidance and support for your infant and family.
Your care team will talk with you about the full range of support and services available through Providence. Through the Sunflower Program, we offer information, care planning and assistance as you and your baby transition from hospital to home, residential or hospice care.
We offer the Sunflower Program at no additional cost to families. For information about this program, please contact our office at 509-474-2806.
We encourage you to ask your care providers about various types of personal and practical support that may benefit you along the way.
The following information includes a few commonly asked questions about perinatal palliative care, which is provided during and shortly after birth, as well as pediatric palliative care for newborns expected to survive for a longer period of time.
Your doctor and specialists will talk with you about your baby’s condition and available care alternatives and support. Your care provider may recommend palliative care or you can ask for a referral for a consultation.
Palliative care can help if you’re facing these and other challenges:
- Your preborn baby was diagnosed with a serious, life-limiting genetic or medical condition, which may affect vital organs or systems such as the heart, brain, lung, liver or kidneys.
- Your baby may have a life-limiting condition which doctors expect to shorten life to days, weeks or only a few years.
- Your family is facing uncertainty and questions about the future.
- Your family is having trouble making difficult medical decisions and wants help thinking them through.
Yes. Your doctor will continue to take care of your baby and manage care. We coordinate palliative care with other care providers and specialists.
Palliative care is comfort care that may be provided at any time, from diagnosis through early or late stages of illness. Hospice care includes palliative care but is reserved for the last six months of life. Hospice care helps relieve pain and discomfort while improving quality of life.
Your Providence care team will guide you through care options and available alternatives for your baby and family.
At Providence, you and your family are always an important part of the care team. You’re fully involved in planning and decision-making, and we coordinate care across specialties to support you, your baby and family at every step.
During pregnancy, your medical care team may include your primary obstetrics provider, perinatologist, neonatologist, geneticists or other specialists as needed, such as cardiologists and neonatal intensive care experts.
If your baby is likely to live for a short time after birth, a pediatric palliative care team will step in to assist you. If hospice care is appropriate, hospice specialists, including grief counselors and support groups, will help.
Your perinatal palliative care team may include these and other care providers:
- Case manager
- Child life specialist
- Financial counselor
- Grief support specialists
- Patient navigator
- Physician assistants
- Primary care doctor
- Primary nurse
- Registered nurse coordinators
- Social workers
- Supportive care doctors