OHRH provides 'smart cradle' for grieving families
By Renee Beasley Jones, Messenger-Inquirer
After a pregnancy loss, many families want to spend as much time as possible with their infants.
Often, mothers are hospitalized for days after giving birth. Because deceased infants are not released to a funeral home until the mom is discharged from the hospital, that can be precious time to see and hold a child who will never go home.
Earlier this week, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital received a Cenotaph Smart Cradle, which slows natural processes after death. The bassinet can preserve an infant’s body for several days.
Robin Locher, OHRH manager of labor and delivery, knows firsthand how important that time can be to grieving families. Nearly three decades ago, Locher suffered a fetal loss.
“All I got was a Polaroid,” Locher said.
Today, OHRH’s fetal bereavement program, called Footprints on My Heart, provides bereavement gowns, professional photographs of babies, copies of footprints and other mementos.
Now, the hospital can offer the gift of time.
The smart cradle is equipped with a cooling unit that keeps the bassinet’s gel-filled liner at 42 to 45 degrees. The chilled liner can be used when families hold or rock their babies.
The cradle allows parents to keep the deceased baby in the mom’s room if she chooses.
“It helps with allowing families to spend the time they want with their babies,” Locher said.
The bereavement cradle features an Amish-crafted oak cabinet on wheels. The bassinet is clear plexiglass.
On average, OHRH’s mom/baby unit deals with about two losses a month. Locher hopes one smart cradle will be enough to meet the department’s needs.
A $5,000 grant from Dart Polymers Foundation paid for the cradle. OH Foundation applied for the grant.