Thursday, May 31, 2007

Factors Important to Parents at the End of their Infant's Life

The death of an infant is tragic,
and each family learns to cope in a different way.
Brosig, Pierrucci, Kupst, Leuthner
Infant end-of-life care: the parents' perspective

While coping with the end of a NICU newborn's life is a very difficult situation for parents, the process can be made easier with support from family, friends and the hospital care providers and utilizing various coping strategies.

In a study published in April 2007 in the Journal of Perinatology researchers surveyed parents to identify factors that were important to them in caring for their infant at the end of life. The aspects of care that were considered to be most important to parents were:
  • Honesty - from hospital staff
  • Empowered decision-making - parents wanted to be involved
  • Parental care - staff reminders to take care of themselves--the parents--as well as the baby.
  • Environment
  • Faith/trust in nursing care
  • Physicians bearing witness - importance of having the physician present throughout the process of their child's death
  • Support from other hospital care providers - chaplains, social workers, palliative care and child life specialists.
Researchers' Conclusions:
Results of this study suggest that most parents are able to effectively cope with the death of their infant and that there is much the medical staff can do to improve the end-of-life care experience for infants and their families.

Related Blog Article
Coping Strategies Used by Parents to Deal with their Child's Death

Brosig CL, Pierucci RL, Kupst MJ, Leuthner SR. Infant end-of-life care: the parents' perspective.
Journal of Perinatology. Online Publication 19 April 2007.

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