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Dealing with parents facing imminent death of their neonate: introducing palliative care in maternity wards and neonatal intensive care units

Dealing with parents facing imminent death of their neonate: introducing palliative care in maternity wards and neonatal intensive care units

Bulletin de l'Academie Nationale de Medecine 194(6): 879

Following antenatal diagnosis of a lethal disorder, some parents are so overwhelmed by grief that therapeutic abortion is seen as the least traumatic option. However, the impending death and anticipated mourning create a particularly complex emotional situation. When faced with such dramatic circumstances, some parents seek to restore meaning to their parenthood by accompanying their baby through to the end of its life. Methods derived from hospice care may be appropriate in such situations, considering the unborn child as "a living being among the living ", pregnancy as the first chapter of every life, and death as a natural process. This approach, which may be adopted in maternity wards and neonatal intensive care units, requires the medical team to provide consistent information to the parents and to ensure their close involvement. These new parental demands must be clearly understood if they are to be met as effectively as possible.

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Accession: 052453030

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PMID: 21513125

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