The Infant Maternal Perinatal Advanced Care Team (IMPACT) is available to the parents and families who experience a life-threatening diagnosis for their baby during pregnancy. As families are confronted with a number of sensitive and difficult decisions surrounding the life of their unborn child, IMPACT will gently accompany the family from the earliest moment of diagnosis in hopes to create a lasting narrative for the baby’s life.
The goals of the program are:
- Improve access to the right providers and services, in a timely fashion;
- Support families to make the decisions and choices that are right for them and their baby;
- Provide ongoing palliative care and grief support whether a family is experiencing the end of pregnancy, death of an infant, or is caring for a baby with ongoing medical needs.
How IMPACT supports a family is variable and depends on the circumstances and individual family needs. Our team works closely with other maternity care providers and paediatric specialists. Examples of aspects of our program’s support include:
- Supporting decision making (whether to continue a pregnancy; how to support the baby and mother during labour/delivery depending on the goals of care; what care for the baby might look like after birth).
- Supporting memory making/legacy creation during pregnancy, labour, delivery and beyond.
- Helping families to support a baby’s siblings.
- Ensuring high quality end of life care whether in hospital or after potential discharge to hospice or home.
- Transitioning to ongoing paediatric palliative care support for families whose babies have ongoing medical needs in a hospital (often intensive care) setting.
- Longitudinal grief and bereavement support.
Our IMPACT Team
IMPACT is a program that began as a pilot collaboration among Mount Sinai Hospital, the Hospital for Sick Children and Emily’s House Children’s Hospice in Toronto, Canada. We are a group of physicians, nurses and healthcare providers with expertise in palliative care and grief support.
Our hope is that this program will continue to grow and expand to other hospitals in the region. If you are unsure about whether aspects of our program may be available to you (whether you are a healthcare provider or an individual experiencing a challenging perinatal diagnosis), please reach out and we can try to provide support or connect you with resources locally.
One IMPACT mother reflects on her time at Emily’s House after her daughter’s delivery: “Our time at Emily’s House really brought us closer together as a family. Being surrounded with so much love and support allowed us to enjoy every minute with our sweet baby. I truly believe our time in the hospice, celebrating her life every day, gave her the strength to live longer than expected. I know that we are one of the lucky few whose baby was expected to pass away soon after she was born but instead has surprised us all by surviving and thriving and overcoming all odds. But we know that if she had passed away at Emily’s House, we would have cherished her time with us, thanks to the amazing support from the staff there.”
Additional Perinatal Care Resources
- Pathways Grief Support Program: http://www.sickkids.ca/patient-family-resources/paediatric-advance-care-team/Grief%20and%20bereavement%20resources/PACT-Pathways-Program-Overview/Pathways-Grief-Support-Program.html
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network: https://pailnetwork.sunnybrook.ca/
- Bereaved Families of Ontario: https://www.bfotoronto.ca/
- Pregnancy and Infant Death Alliance: https://www.plida.org/
- Perinatal Hospice and Palliative Care: https://www.perinatalhospice.org/
- Resolve Through Sharing Bereavement Services: https://www.gundersenhealth.org/resolve-through-sharing/