UPMC Magee Opens Bereavement Room for Grieving Families

By: Kate Irwin

UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital recently opened a bereavement room for patients and families experiencing the death of a baby.

Jane’s Room, based in Chicago, was founded by husband and wife, Bob and Berkley Wellstein, after the couple’s daughter, Jane, was born still in January of 2012. In their time of mourning at the hospital, the Wellsteins and visiting family members felt out of place in the labor and delivery waiting room, where the celebratory atmosphere was a stark contrast to their grief.

Jane’s Room at UPMC Magee provides a space for families to grieve the loss of an infant.

Bob and Berkley founded Jane’s Room to keep their daughter’s memory alive, and to fill this gap of privacy for other families who face the loss of their infant.

The room of respite at UPMC Magee, with couches and artwork, lacks a clinical feel and sits away from the labor and delivery waiting areas, offering a space for both privacy and peace.

“Our main goal for Jane’s Room is to provide hospital staff with the opportunity and functionality to support families going through loss in the best way possible,” said Mr. Wellstein.

Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation (MWRIF) worked to connect the Wellsteins with the hospital. Jane’s Room donated $40,000 for renovations and resources to further equip staff with bereavement education.

“MWRIF is grateful for our partnership with Jane’s Room. It has been an honor to work with a family and organization that turned their heartache into something healing for others,” said Janice Devine, executive director of development at MWRIF. “Offering our families a private, sacred room that does not look like a hospital room will truly make a difference for those who experience such heartbreak within our walls.”

UPMC Magee is the tenth hospital in the U.S. to partner with Jane’s Room.

The partnership between Jane’s Room and UPMC Magee is a means of enhancing UPMC’s care, which strives to meet the specific needs of each patient and family.

“Despite cutting-edge treatment and extraordinary care, neonatal and perinatal deaths still happen, and it is tragic and heartbreaking,” said Dr. Richard Beigi, president of UPMC Magee. “We’re proud to be the tenth hospital nationwide that has partnered with Jane’s Room to bring such a meaningful and necessary space to our hospital.”

For the Wellsteins, pictured above with Beigi and Dawndra Jones, UPMC Magee’s chief nursing officer, their first-hand experience with grief in losing their daughter has equipped them with the unique ability to offer resources and advice for families in similar situations.

“Being supported at the hospital, when the grieving process begins, is so important. We want to tie the idea of respite with high-quality bereavement education,” explained Mr. Wellstein. “We believe that this combination puts families in a much better position as they prepare to carry their loss with them throughout the rest of their lives.”