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Study to focus on families without mothers

NATCHITOCHES – The College of Nursing and School of Allied Health at Northwestern State University is seeking participants for a study on families without mothers.

According to Assistant Professor of Nursing Donald Johnston, the study is seeking English-speaking individuals over the age of 18 who are currently caring for a child whose mother died in childbirth or within 60 days after childbirth.

“Approximately 650 women in the U.S. die each year as the result of pregnancy or delivery complications,” said Johnston. “Louisiana was ranked 44th in the nation in this category. In 76 percent of the cases, the infant survives.”

Johnston said the loss of a mother during pregnancy or delivery is a tragic situation for the surviving child, father and extended family.

 “The stories of these families remain hidden unless someone brings them to light,” said Johnston. “We want to learn what happens to the children who are left behind after the mother dies as well as the impact on the surviving family and community as a whole. By replacing numbers with stories, we personalize the problem, raise awareness and identify specific areas of need.”

Participation consists of two interviews approximately six months apart. The names of those taking part will not be used in any way.

For more information, contact Donald A. Johnston, PhD, RN-MHS RRT, College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, Northwestern State University, 1800 Line Ave., Shreveport, LA 71101, call or text (318) 716-0263 or e-mail