Musical staff

UK HealthCare and KCH staff honor lost patients at memorial service

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 5, 2022) – Staff from Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) and UK Birthing Center held their annual Spring Memorial Service on Sunday, April 24 at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington. This event, held in person for the first time since 2019, honors the memory of KCH and UK Birth Center patients who died last year while continuing to honor those who passed away in previous years.

KCH and UK HealthCare staff joined families in celebrating the memories of babies and children who died.

“Each family was asked to bring a flower to the front and place it in a vase when their child’s name was read,” said Michelle Steele, registered nurse and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and chair. of labor and childbirth in mourning. “At the end of the service, it made a nice arrangement. Families and staff could see that they were not alone.

The service also included a number of readings, including poems read by Wendy Hansen, MD, chair of UK HealthCare’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, KCH nurses and parents who have lost a child. The KCH Child Life team read the book “The Invisible String” and KCH Chief Medical Officer Scottie B. Day, MD and Registered Nurse Adrienne Johnston, Pediatric Advanced Care (PACT) Team Advanced Practitioner , played music.

“The spring memorial service has become more interactive over the years,” said Anna Bullard, a clinical social worker who has helped organize the event over the years. “This year I have seen families connecting after service that I have met in different KCH units. Whether they have lost a baby or a teenager, families find support not only from staff but also each other.

The service ended with the lighting of mourning candles, music and the release of butterflies.

“No one dreams of losing a child, but it is a reality for many of us,” said Lauren Johnson, a mother who attends the memorial in her son’s honor each year. “Unimaginable things can happen. We miss these babies every day, but events like this help keep their memories alive and loved forever.

Bereavement support information was made available and families received a potted flower to take home.

“The prayers, songs, readings, slideshow and all the take-outs were beautiful, therapeutic and precious,” said parents Kayla and Ryan Jones. “We appreciate them so much.”

The Pediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) provides palliative care services to children with critical illnesses and their families.

Click here for more information on UK HealthCare pastoral care, bereavement resources and future memorial events.