Expanding on our mission to impact bereaved families by serving the professionals who support them, Hearthside Perinatal Bereavement Care is pleased to announce the release of the Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Certificate Program.

Those who complete Competency Elements from the program will be qualified to hold the title Perinatal Bereavement Specialist through Hearthside Perinatal Bereavement Care.

What Makes This Program Special?:

  • It’s Holistic- The Certificate Program trains birth and medical professionals to support the psychosocial, physical, emotional and spiritual journey bereaved clients travel toward healing during and after pregnancy or infant loss. It explicitly reflects the Midwives Model of Care™ and focuses on serving bereaved clients from the time of loss through the first postpartum year.
  • It’s Evidence-based- The Program incorporates the latest research available concerning perinatal bereavement, palliative care and grief recovery.
  • It Includes Expert Contributions- Incorporating wisdom from an array of acknowledged experts in the fields of psychology, grief, palliative care and perinatal bereavement, this Program allows Candidates to appreciate complexity and variety in the field of perinatal bereavement.
  • It’s Client-focused- The Program not only looks to expert opinion and best evidence, it also strongly features the voice of bereaved families themselves, acknowledging that the bereaved are the best authority of what they need to heal.
  • It’s Professional- This is the very first perinatal bereavement training program to include a Mission Statement, a Code of Ethics, a Code of Conduct and a Scope of Practice. Graduates will have clarity concerning what they are trained to accomplish in their communities. A professional development process is utilized which allows the student to establish a virtual and community presence and Candidates will gain skills and experiences allowing them to practice what is learned through the course.

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Perinatal Bereavement Specialists are trained to:

  • Act as perinatal bereavement doulas
  • Facilitate bereavement support groups
  • Serve as memorial and burial advisers
  • Advocate for the perinatally bereaved and
  • Offer peer bereavement counseling services

Those who complete the Hearthside Perinatal Bereavement Care Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Certificate Program will be able to:

  • Discuss the scope and normal course of perinatal grief, various theories of grief and healing and the ways in which families may choose to mourn
  • Draw comparisons between normal physiologic birth and perinatal bereavement as major life transitions with similar psychological, spiritual and practical dimensions
  • Demonstrate skills and strategies to support families experiencing various kinds of perinatal loss including: miscarriage, stillbirth, medical termination, early infant death, families with infants in the NICU; families considering subsequent pregnancy after a perinatal loss; women experiencing post-loss lactation; perinatal tissue donation; and bereaved siblings
  • Express appreciation for the complexity of perinatal loss and for the variety of voices in the professional perinatal bereavement, perinatal hospice and perinatal palliative care fields
  • Exercise understanding of the importance of burial & memorial items and bereavement photography and develop specific practical skills with them
  • Obtain detailed knowledge of local, regional & state burial laws and supports available for bereaved families and utilize professional standards in advising clients concerning options including planned home stillbirth and local home funeral and home burial laws
  • Develop and use peer counseling and support group facilitation techniques
  • Complete professional development exercises including creation of: a mission statement; a community resource survey, needs assessment & gap proposal; financial sustainability research; a values clarification exercise; and, professional bereavement website development

The Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Certificate Program is an evidence and community based student-paced distance training that assures competency via the following modalities:

  • A 120 question entrance exam covering ‘A Foundation for Healing’;
  • 6 essay-based ‘Reflection Guide’ workbooks on the core texts;
  • 5 guided book reviews of additional reading;
  • An online journal of research, crafting, photography, and grief healing assignments;
  • Completion of three peer bereavement counseling interviews;
  • Creation of various miscarriage, stillbirth and NICU option guides;
  • Submission of a community bereavement resource survey, community needs assessment and gap proposal project;
  • Completion of blood borne pathogen certification;
  • Completion of a cross-cultural bereavement research project;
  • Completion of professional development assignments; and
  • An in-person interview with the Program Director

The Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Certificate Program is not an entry-level training. It is for experienced birth and healthcare professionals who wish to expand their professional capabilities toward expertise in perinatal bereavement. Candidates who qualify for admission to the program must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • Certified/Experienced Doulas with at least 20 births
  • Certified Childbirth Educators with at least 20 couples trained
  • Midwifery Students with at least 2 years study or 20 births
  • Neonatal/Obstetric Nurses with at least one year L & D floor experience and knowledge of out-of-hospital and physiologic birth
  • Midwives with knowledge of out-of-hospital and physiologic birth
  • Physicians with knowledge of out-of-hospital and physiologic birth
  • Other licensed professionals who work with perinatal women and who have knowledge of out-of-hospital and physiologic birth

Program Application and Agreements

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 Flexible Program Pathways:

There are two pathways into the Certification Program. Having two Pathways allows Candidates the most flexibility in their training. Pathway One is appropriate for those who meet prerequisite eligibility requirements and who want to complete the full Certificate Program at one time. Pathway Two of the Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Certificate Program exists for several reasons; It allows Candidates to complete the full Certificate Program in financial increments, increasing accessibility to those who may find the investment burdensome otherwise; It allows those who wish to complete the Certificate Program the ability to begin bereavement training while pursuing necessary experience to qualify for entrance and; finally, it allows those who begin only wanting basic bereavement training to further their education as their needs or interests change.

The following is the anticipated progression of Pathway One through the Certificate Program:

  • Fulfill all experience prerequisites
  • Submit program application and resume
  • Acceptance into the Program
  • Registration/Tuition payment
  • Receive Candidate Hand Hook
  • Complete Competency Elements Parts One through Four (includes ‘A Foundation for Healing’)
  • Apply for Completion of Program & send all Competency Elements to Program Director
  • Competency Elements review by the Program Director
  • Capstone Interview with Program Director
  • Graduation from Program

The following is the anticipated progression of Pathway Two through the Certificate Program:

  • Complete ‘A Foundation for Healing’
  • Fulfill all experience prerequisites
  • Submit program application and resume
  • Acceptance into the Program
  • Registration/Tuition payment
  • Receive Candidate Hand Book
  • Complete Competency Elements Parts One through Four
  • Apply for Completion of Program & send all Competency Elements to Program Director
  • Competency Elements review by the Program Director
  • Capstone Interview with Program Director
  • Graduation from Program

Students are offered personal mentoring by the Program Director and have access to an optional monthly webinar conference in which Program content and perinatal bereavement news are discussed. Candidates may bring questions and observations about the Program to this meeting for direct feedback. Candidates who successfully complete the Certificate Program will be required to agree to the Hearthside Perinatal Bereavement Specialists’ Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct prior to graduation from the Program. Both are available for review upon request after an application for entry into the program has been received.

Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Tuition:

Pathway One of the Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Certificate Program is available for a cost of $525. Pathway Two of the Perinatal Bereavement Specialist Certificate Program is available for a cost of $400. Eligible Candidates who register prior to December 31, 2015 will receive a $50 discount on tuition.

Click here for the Certificate Program Entrance Application

Program Graduates are offered the following benefits:

  • A unique web badge identifying them as Perinatal Bereavement Specialists
  • Listing on Hearthside Perinatal Bereavement Care as a Perinatal Bereavement Specialist
  • A specially crafted certificate appropriate for framing
  • Entry into a monthly continuing education webinar for Candidates and Graduates only
  • Ongoing, personalized mentoring by the Program Director
  • Special pricing for all Hearthside webinars and workshops