Becoming a parent is an important event in the lives of Canadian men and women. Each year in Canada, this dream is delayed for more than 100,000 couples, when pregnancy ends in a perinatal death. This event can have damaging long-term effects on the mental and physical health of mothers and fathers, on their conjugal relationships and on their other children. Unfortunately, perinatal death is often trivialized and not given all the attention it deserves. Specifically, we have little knowledge about the health care services that could promote the mental and physical health, as well as the psychosocial well-being, of women and men going through perinatal bereavement.
Perinatal bereavement, Support, Resources and Trajectories
A project is underway in seven regions of Québec (2011-2014). Individual interviews are conducted with 56 fathers and 56 mothers who have experienced perinatal bereavement in the last 12-18 months, to retrace their trajectory of bereavement and care. Other individual and group interviews with health care professionals will make it possible to assess the effectiveness of interventions established to support the mental and physical health of couples experiencing perinatal bereavement.
The knowledge produced by this study will validate a model explaining the effects of perinatal bereavement on family members and health care professionals. Those on the front line, such as health care professionals, physicians, nurses, midwives and social workers, will be better equipped to provide Québec families with services when they experience perinatal bereavement.
Miscarriage in Emergency
When pregnancy ends in a miscarriage, this event can have damaging long-term effects on the mental and physical health of mothers and fathers, on their conjugal relationships and on their other children. Unfortunately, miscarriage is often trivialized and not given all the attention it deserves. We have little knowledge about the medical and nursing care offered to the woman and her partner when she experiences a miscarriage in Emergency, just as we know little about how community resources support them after they leave Emergency. The experiences of medical teams that take care of miscarriages are also little known.
To overcome this lack of knowledge, an online survey will be completed by 200 emergency care providers and managers in nine regions of Québec. This will be followed by group interviews (N: 75). Sixty couples will participate in individual interviews, and 232 couples will participate in three telephone surveys in the course of the first year following the miscarriage in order to identify best practices for offering continuity of care between the hospital and community resources. The knowledge flowing from this study will make it possible to propose a continuum of health services aimed at meeting the needs of women and their partners in an effective manner.
Please communicate with Pascale de Montigny Gauthier (firstname.lastname@example.org) to complete the survey in English.
Assisting fathers in mourning following the death of an unborn child – Movember project
Three discussion groups bring together 14 fathers were held, bringing together 14 fathers in two regions in Québec. The analysis of this data led to the creation of the "Accompanying men in mourning" training. Three workshop formats, as well as corresponding materials geared towards leading these workshops, were developed. They are 90 minutes, 3 hours or 7 hours. Four day-long workshops were held, as well as a one hour workshop. Close to 100 people have participated. The workshops will be continuing through 2016-2017.
Examples of this include interviews on the radio (ICI Radio-Canada), a web news story, a Facebook story and two texts in IMPACT. Presentations were also given to those responsible for the “perinatal” and “male mental health” portfolios within the ministry of health and social services in Québec as well as the perinatal committee within the Outaouais’ health and social services agency. On May 16th, we shared the best practices towards bereaved men at the Baby Loss Summit in Toronto. In June 2016, during the Quebec Fathers' week, a video "When the storm hits...Bereaved fathers" was launched in three regions of Quebec, attracting more than 120 participants. Discussions on the topic of fathers' experience of the death of their child allowed participants to become aware that fathers grieve too and need specific attention from health professionals. One thousand DVDs, with a booklet describing how to use this document for teaching purposes are being handed out to teaching and health institutions. A free version is available online in French, for fathers, their families and the general public : www.youtube.com/watch?