The memory box in neonatal loss
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Department of Midwifery, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Zoi Papachristou   

Department of Midwifery, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A155
A memory box is a therapeutic tool often used in neonatal end of life care to support the parents and the whole family in capturing and preserving memories of the deceased neonate. It can serve as a meaningful means of honoring the neonate and provides a tangible and personal way to hold onto keepsakes linked to the neonate1.

Aim of a memory box:
A memory box aims to provide comfort, emotional support and a sense of connection between the family and the deceased neonate. Key aspects and benefits of using memory boxes in neonatal loss include reminiscence therapy, promotion of identity and dignity, aid in the grieving process, sharing feelings and finding solace in the memories associated with the items by generating a sense of continued presence and cherished memories2-4.

Creating a memory box:
Creating a memory box may involve selecting a box with sentimental value or selecting a new one, usually offered by the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staff. It can be a wooden box, a decorative chest or any container that feels appropriate. Paint, stickers, ribbons or other craft supplies can be used to decorate the exterior. Personalizing the box is critical for the family and can be attained by filling the box with items that reflect the neonates personality, such as a hospital bracelet, pictures, clothing, footprints or any treasured objects. Preserving pertinent documents, including medical records, birth certificates or other relevant paperwork can provide a sense of continuity and help remember the details of the neonates story3,4.

Overall, memory boxes are valuable to accompany and ease the mourning of the family, by promoting positive memories about the deceased neonate.

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