Empty Arms Speaking & Professional Development

McMurrich teaching at holyoke medical center , november, 2015

McMurrich teaching at holyoke medical center , november, 2015

Ensuring that caregivers are well trained in knowing how to compassionately interact with the bereaved is one of our primary goals. This is the first place where we begin to support the families who need us. Empty Arms hosts large educational events, and also offers smaller professional trainings tailored to a group of providers who wish to increase their own knowledge of how to compassionately care for the bereaved. Carol McMurrich, our director, has an undergraduate degree in sociology and psychology, a Masters in Education, and over a dozen years of working first hand with bereaved families in both the hospital and support group setting. She has provided presentations on grief and loss, ranging from one to four hours, to university nursing courses, midwifery practices, doula groups, and hospital groups.

We invite you to view this brochure to see some of the details of what we can offer in a training. 

Whether you are looking to provide a larger training to a diverse group or are simply looking for somebody to provide an in-service training to your staff, Carol will work with you to develop a program which will best suit your needs. Depending on what you offer, Empty Arms has programs approved for nursing contact hours on certain topics.

A presentation about compassionate caregiving can contains some or all of the following:

  • Brief history of perinatal loss: Including an overview of statistics. Audiences are better able to understand the frequency of miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infant death in the US today and how the experience of loss has changed over time.

  • Grief: A brief overview. All the work we do at the time of loss aims to create a framework within which the family will grieve. We recognize the relationship between patient and provider holds great influence over how the bereaved may work with their grief.

  • The loss: creating a schema and developing norms. This includes a discussion of the provider's role in the decision-making process, and helping families make sense of what’s happened. We will explore how others behave in similar circumstances through connection, empathy, and the sharing of stories.

  • Presenting choices and making memories: How do we develop trust, ask questions, and present options in a myriad of ways? How do we talk about birth plans, funerals, autopsies, photography, hand/foot casting, collect mementos, provide follow up, and more? Navigating these questions in a respectful and attentive manner with those bereaved is an important skill. Patience and compassion will hold great impact.

  • What to say & What not to say: A conversation about words and their impact, as well as a list for your pocket.

  • The subsequent pregnancy: Following a family through loss, and supporting the subsequent pregnancy that often follows.

As a bereaved parent and experienced facilitator of Empty Arms, Carol weaves her own experience and that of many others she has worked with (with permission) to create an intimate, personal presentation with adequate time for participants to share their stories, emotions, and concerns. Knowing the impact that educating providers can have on the experience of families experiencing loss, professional trainings are one of Carol’s favorite things to do.

If you are interested in booking a training through Empty Arms, please contact us at emptyarmsbereavement@gmail.com and indicate where you are located and what length of seminar you are hoping for.

Our pricing is based on travel and lecture time and is as inexpensive as we can possibly make it, knowing how important this topic is for providers and how little funding can sometimes exist to cover it.