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Neonatal death and parents' grief. Experience, behaviour and attitudes of Swedish nurses

Neonatal death and parents' grief. Experience, behaviour and attitudes of Swedish nurses

Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences 12(4): 246-250

The aim of the present study was to survey the experience, behaviour and attitudes of nurses in Swedish neonatal wards towards parents who refuse or are reluctant to see, touch or hold their dying or dead baby. A questionnaire was distributed to 173 nurses, of whom 144 responded. The questionnaire contained questions about the nurses' own experience of such situations, their behaviour, and their attitude towards influencing the parents. Seventy-four percent answered that they had experience of such situations, 59% that they often tried to persuade or in other ways influence the parents to change their mind, and 60% were of the opinion that the parents mourning-process is always facilitated when they touch or hold their dead baby. Most nurses (83%) were of the opinion that the conflict between beneficence and autonomy was difficult but not impossible to solve. A majority of the nurses were inclined to give priority to the principle of beneficence. But is this inclination ethically justified? A well-founded answer to this question requires more knowledge about the experiences of parents who have lived through such traumatic situations.

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Accession: 046772880

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PMID: 10067651

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