Memory making in neonatal end-of-life care


Memory making in neonatal end-of-life care


Thornton RK; Harms LK; Nicholson PF


Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health




memory; terminal care; conference abstract; grounded theory; health practitioner; human; infant; interview; newborn


Background: Providing appropriate psychosocial care for parents experiencing the loss of a newborn is crucial. Currently, a number of practices are recommended in perinatal and neonatal palliative care guidelines that are designed to help families to create memories with their baby. However, little is currently known about the significance of memory making activities for bereaved parents, or the impact of these activities on parents' experience of loss. Methods: This study is using a grounded theory approach to explore memory making interventions in the context of neonatal end-of-life care. In-depth interviews with 17 bereaved parents have been undertaken thus far. Results: While this research is ongoing, clear themes have already begun to emerge which have the potential to improve memory making practices in neonatal end-of-life care. In particular, participants express the need for guidance around memory making activities and the need for more opportunities to parent their newborn as a way of creating treasured memories. Parents also describe the importance of physical mementos as proof that their baby existed and their baby matters. Conclusions: Through understanding how families experience memory making interventions, neonatal health practitioners can provide clearer guidance for bereaved parents, ultimately improving the quality of care.


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Citation List Month

June 2018 List



Thornton RK; Harms LK; Nicholson PF, “Memory making in neonatal end-of-life care,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 17, 2024,