Palliative care in neonatology: French neonatologists' practice


Palliative care in neonatology: French neonatologists' practice


Martini P; Alluin R; Vieux R


Medecine Palliative




cohort; ethics; neonatal-period; Neonatology; Palliative Care; prematurity


Background. - Though ethical dilemma is common in neonatal practice, it is only recently subject to scientific research. Objectives. - We aimed to describe neonatologists' practices in end of life decision-making processes and in palliative care, and their practical implementation in NICU. Methods. - This cross-sectional prospective study was performed by an online survey. Pediatricians from French level III maternity wards were selected. Data collected concerned the general characteristics of the participants as well as their personal awareness of palliative reflection. Five clinical cases explored processes of discussion and decision in palliative care, as well as their implementation. Results. - Seventy-one practitioners responded on 65 level III NICUs. Ten percent were trained in palliative medicine and 17% had this project. The palliative care team was invited in less than a third of the multidisciplinary meetings, although most responders acknowledged its usefulness in accompanying children, their families or caregivers. Parents' weight in the final decision was important for the responders but less than that of doctors. It concerned parents' vision on disability. For palliative care in the delivery room, 13% did not use any medication. Others mostly used the umbilical vein. Midwives more often took responsibility of palliative care in the delivery rooms. Conclusions. - Neonatologists expert in palliative care are still too few in level III centers. Palliative teams are not yet involved in patient's regular care. Practices in palliative care in France are still quite dependent on the center, especially regarding medications. This study underlines the importance of interventions training neonatologists in the field of palliative medicine. (c) 2017 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.


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Citation List Month

March 2018 List



Martini P; Alluin R; Vieux R, “Palliative care in neonatology: French neonatologists' practice,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed December 5, 2023,