By William McGinn/Intern
KAWARTHA LAKES-More than 100 women in the City of Kawartha Lakes visited the hospital emergency department due to a miscarriage in 2016. That’s approximately one woman every three days and it prompted Ryan Alexander to try to help families suffering from the loss.
Alexander is the Manager of Community Care’s Hospice Services, an organization that offers free consultation for people undergoing or attempting to overcome the loss of a loved one. He understands that the death of an infant before or shortly after its birth is a time of difficulty that requires community support and grief to endure the trauma. Now there’s a big chance for the community to give an impactful helping hand.
“We are currently in the midst of trying to bring a new resource to the community, specifically for mothers, fathers and families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss.”
He partnered with the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL), a Canadian organization dedicated to providing support and hope for families who lost a baby. It was founded in 1992 by four families who each suffered the loss of their pregnancy or the death of their baby.
“PAIL [recently got] ministry funding. Through partnerships they have satellite locations across the province. Their home base is in Whitby. They’re technically tied to Sunnybrook but when they have a local partner like us, who can help to bring and establish networks in our community, it helps them to spread their tentacles into communities like ours,” said Alexander.
Miscarriages are not uncommon. According to the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, a total of 107 Kawartha Lakes residents visited a hospital emergency department due to a miscarriage in 2016. This number does not include the mothers who did not seek medical attention or went to a family doctor, so the number could be much higher. According to Alexander, one quarter of women worldwide end up with a miscarriage.
“We believe that no one in our community should have to grieve alone,” says Alexander. That’s why it’s important to have these kinds of services available and at the ready.
“We’re setting up an opportunity to bring people who might be interested in volunteering to support that resource in our community, and sort of pitch it to them as an opportunity to help support mothers fathers and families who are going through this.”
On April 28, from 11 a.m. to noon there is a meeting at Hospice Services (2 Kent St. W) an information session is being held for those interested in becoming volunteers. They are looking for people who have experienced family loss and are approximately two years past their bereavement date.
The session will inform attendants about the PAIL Network, volunteer groups, and the commitment and training required to become a volunteer.
“[Our volunteers do] thirty hours of Hospice core training and then, should they continue to support people into the grief end of what we do they receive an additional 20+ hours of training,” said Alexander. “If it is in the grief realm of what we do, 50 hours of training total and then some. So, the PAIL training is online training; a little bit of a different setup but there’s approximately a 30-hour commitment in training as well.”
PAIL is always looking for volunteers. According to their site, volunteering can include simple activities such as distributing brochures or hosting an information table, or more involved roles, such as hosting a third-party event or sharing your story for training purposes.
It’s a win, win for the volunteers according to Alexander, “There’s no golden prize if you will. The reward is in the service, and that will be a consistent response you get from any of our volunteers.”
Anyone interested in learning more or attending the information session for prospective volunteers can contact Hospice Services at 705-879-4123. They hope to be offering services by the fall.
For more information about PAIL, you can visit https://pailnetwork.sunnybrook.ca/ and you can visit https://www.ccckl.ca/ for more information about Lindsay’s Hospice and the community Health and Care network.