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RTS Bereavement Program

Primary Purpose

To provide care, support and follow-up to families who are grieving the loss of an infant through neonatal death. Services are primarily provided by Registered Nurses who have been trained in perinatal loss and follow-up.


When babies are first admitted to the NICU, we address religious and cultural beliefs of the family. Parents may have their baby baptized in our unit by their own clergy or by our Pastoral Care Department. When baptized, the patient receives a baptismal coverlet, seashell and certificate of baptism.

In-hospital support

Bereavement care is provided by both the family and the RN. Our private rooms offer families the privacy they need for making memories and dealing with their grief. We allow unlimited visitors in bereavement situations. We feel families need to be together and children should be included if the family wishes. Families are given the opportunity to hold their baby before and during death if at all possible. Families are encouraged to take part in bereavement care. We let families spend as much time as they need with their baby. Spanish resources are available and we always have an interpreter present if the family does not speak English.

Keepsakes Given to Parents

  • Disposable 35mm Camera
  • Name bracelet
  • Footprints/Handprints
  • Lock of Hair
  • Digital Picture
  • Tape Measure
  • Blanket/Quilt
  • Yellow Rose
  • All Personal Belongings

All Keepsakes are given to parents in a special Memory Box.

Booklets and Resources Available

Loving and Letting Go, Making Loving Memories, Empty Arms, Healing Together, RTS Folder, Dealing with Grief, A Father?s Grief, Sibling Grief, Grieving Grandparents, How Family & Friends Can Help, Not Just Another Day, Little Footprints, No New Baby, Single Parent Grief, Timothy Duck, What Will I Tell the Children, Death of an Infant Twin, Support Group Brochures and the Centering Corporation Catalog.

Many resources are available in Spanish: Cuando Hola Significa Adios Ocasa Sin Aurora

Hand and Foot Molds

Foot and hand molds

We would like to give you the opportunity to do something special and meaningful for your baby. Hand and Foot molds make precious memories to hold in the future. The memories you make now can be very special and important to you and your family over the years to come. The molds are very real to life, showing all the fingerprints or the creases on your baby?s feet.

Burial Layettes

Each family is given a burial layette that has been donated by either the Mary-Madeline Project or Newborns in Need.

First Foto Pictures

Growing Families Photography provides bereavement pictures at no charge to our families who have experienced a loss.

Ted E Bear Hollow

A center for grieving children ages 5-19 who have experienced the death of someone they love. Children meet in groups according to age and take part in various activities, sharing stories and finding new coping skills.

Family members have a chance to meet separately from the children and receive support and grief education.

NICU Bereavement Follow-Up Program

The purpose of the NICU Bereavement Follow-up Program is to let families know they are still thought about, particularly at times we know are difficult for them (due date, holidays and anniversary date). Follow-up calls keep communication channels open and allow families to ask questions, seek advice and talk about how they feel. For parents who have lost a baby, it is vital that they have someone who understands that grief does not end with the funeral or a few weeks after their baby dies.

Follow-up is based on the needs of the family and done by RN?s trained in bereavement follow-up. Some families may only need one contact; other families may need more than our regular contacts. Our bereavement RN?s are also able to make any necessary referrals the family may need. At least one follow-up contact will be made with each family. With each follow-up call the family will be asked if they would like another follow-up call. If we are unable to reach the family by phone, a note is sent to parents, giving them the opportunity to call a follow-up nurse if they want to talk.

Our Regular Follow-Up

  • Sympathy card within one week of baby?s death
  • Initial follow-up call between one and three weeks
  • Second follow-up call between six and eight weeks
  • Call on due date if baby was born premature
  • All at six months
  • Extra calls as needed by family
  • Invitation to October Memorial Service
  • Anniversary card at one year
  • Christmas card

We also have an annual Memorial Service on the 2nd Sunday in October each year at West Lawn-Hillcrest Cemetery. Nebraska Medical Center has a Memorial Bench located there.

For more information regarding the RTS Program, contact Karen Bonneau RN , Bereavement Coordinator for the NICU, at 559-4442 from 7AM-7PM or Kathleen Paulsen RN, Follow-up RN at 559-4442 from 7PM-7AM.


Make an Appointment

Call: 800.922.0000