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Good Samaritan Hospital Offers Perinatal Hospice for Unborn and Their Families

April 9th, 2014

The loss of a baby, whether in-utero or soon after birth, is the most heart-wrenching experience a parent can encounter. During this time, there is nothing more important than providing compassion and understanding. In an effort to offer families an opportunity to love, celebrate, and grieve for their baby in a supportive environment, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center started “Emily’s Gift,” a program to ensure that services are consistently provided to bereaved families through a collaborative and holistic approach. The mission was to build a bond strong enough to hold the weight of heavy hearts by formulating a standard of care for parents who have experienced an early pregnancy loss, stillbirth or newborn death.

In January, “Gabriel's Courage,” in-utero hospice or palliative care for the imperiled newborn, was adopted which encompasses all perinatal bereavement services. Women learning of a critical fetal diagnosis can be supported by a team of pediatric specialists, care management and pastoral care specialists to find the best way to support their baby and family. The care provided during perinatal hospice differs in emphasis, but not in type of care from other modes of perinatal care. Its primary focus is on the family — not the fetal diagnosis and attendant abnormalities.

“It is a privilege and an honor to walk along side these families in their journey toward healing and hope,” said Janet Stevens, RNC-OB, co-coordinator of Emily’s Gift. “Each of these children has their own story to tell and I am humbled to be touched by the grace they bestow on us as nurses.”
The central hospice team consists of the mother, her unborn child, her family, the physician or team of physicians including primary care, a geneticist, perinatologist, obstetrician, labor and delivery nurses, chaplains, child-life specialists, social worker and bereavement counselors. These experts help families prepare for the birth and death of their baby with emphasis on their preferences, wants, needs and desires. A referral process was developed in order to identify families in need and ensure a consistent, interdisciplinary, holistic approach and a continuity of care for the families.

On May 3, there will be a Community Burial of the Unborn for families that have had a loss of a preborn baby at the Queen of All Saints Cemetery in Central Islip. Good Samaritan has been offering this service to the community in May and October since 2009, providing bereaved families comfort and strength through their journey of loss. “This religious service aligns with the hospital’s mission to cherish every life,” said Pastoral Care’s Sr. Ellen Moore, OP.

For more information on Good Samaritan Hospital’s Maternity Services, please call (631) 376-4444 or visit


Colleen Valdini
Manager, Public and External Affairs
(631) 376-4483