DEC. 19, 2005 | Parents throughout Arkansas who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death can turn to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) for support.
The Recovery Room parent support group meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Monday of each month. Meetings take place on the fifth floor of the Shorey Building adjacent to the UAMS Medical Center. Parking is available at no charge on the deck off Markham Street.
People also may participate in the support group through interactive video conferencing at 10 cities across the state: Crossett, Lake Village, West Memphis, Monticello, Helena, Mena, Camden, Stuttgart, Hope and Fort Smith. With video technology, participants at each location can ask questions and share in the discussion led by Joseph Banken, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. For information, call (866) 273-3835 or visit www.uams.edu/angels/support_group.
In addition to Banken, Shannon Barringer, a certified genetic counselor, and Kay Morris, R.N., a nurse in the UAMS Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, attend each meeting on the UAMS campus. Trained facilitators are available to assist participants at each satellite location. The Recovery Room is a service of UAMS’ ANGELS (Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines and Learning System) program.
“The death of an infant is one of the most devastating losses a person can experience,” Banken said. “We are there to offer support and information to help both mothers and fathers cope with their loss and understand the feelings that go along with it.”
Any parent who has experienced the loss of an infant is welcome to attend, either on the UAMS campus or at a satellite location. Topics of discussion include how to deal with feelings of sadness, disappointment and guilt that may accompany the loss of an infant, and participants are invited to raise any subjects of importance to them. All sessions are confidential.
“We want participants to know that anything they express is held in the strictest confidence. Our staff has extensive training in grief counseling and understands the intense emotions that go along with the grieving process. We want parents to understand that what they are feeling is normal and that many other people have experienced the same kind of loss,” Banken said, adding that while some people attend multiple meetings, others only come for one or two sessions.