Barriers to and facilitators of end-of-life decision-making by neonatologists and neonatal nurses in neonates: a qualitative study

Title

Barriers to and facilitators of end-of-life decision-making by neonatologists and neonatal nurses in neonates: a qualitative study

Creator

Dombrecht L; Piette V; Deliens L; Cools F; Chambaere K; Goossens L; Naulaers G; Cornette L; Beernaert K; Cohen J

Publisher

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Date

2019

Subject

advance care planning; article; child; consultation; content analysis; conversation; decision making; Flanders; human; interview; law; neonatal intensive care unit; neonatal nurse; neonatologist; newborn; perinatal death; privacy; qualitative research; uncertainty

Description

Context Making end-of-life decisions in neonates involves ethically difficult and distressing dilemmas for healthcare providers. Insight into which factors complicate or facilitate this decision-making process could be a necessary first step in formulating recommendations to aid future practice. Objectives This study aimed to identify barriers to and facilitators of the end-of-life decision-making process as perceived by neonatologists and nurses. Methods We conducted semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 15 neonatologists and 15 neonatal nurses, recruited through four neonatal intensive care units in Flanders, Belgium. They were asked what factors had facilitated and complicated previous end-of-life decision-making processes. Two researchers independently analysed the data, using thematic content analysis to extract and summarize barriers and facilitators. Results Barriers and facilitators were found at three distinct levels: the case-specific context (e.g. uncertainty of the diagnosis and specific characteristics of the child, the parents and the healthcare providers which make decision-making more difficult), the decision-making process (e.g. multidisciplinary consultations and advance care planning (ACP) which make decision-making easier), and the overarching structure (e.g. lack of privacy and complex legislation making decision-making more challenging). Conclusions Barriers and facilitators found in this study can lead to recommendations, some simpler to implement than others, to aid the complex end-of-life decision making process. Recommendations include establishing regular multidisciplinary meetings to include all healthcare providers and reduce unnecessary uncertainty, routinely implementing ACP in severely ill neonates to make important decisions beforehand, creating privacy for bad-news conversations with parents and reviewing the complex legal framework of perinatal end-of-life decision-making.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

December 2019 List

Collection

Citation

Dombrecht L; Piette V; Deliens L; Cools F; Chambaere K; Goossens L; Naulaers G; Cornette L; Beernaert K; Cohen J, “Barriers to and facilitators of end-of-life decision-making by neonatologists and neonatal nurses in neonates: a qualitative study,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed July 29, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/16546.

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