Goals of Care Discussions and Moral Distress among Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Staff

Title

Goals of Care Discussions and Moral Distress among Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Staff

Creator

Guttmann K; Flibotte J; Seitz H; Huber M; DeMauro SB

Publisher

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management

Date

2021

Subject

Communication; Moral Distress; Ethics; Neonatal; End of Life

Description

CONTEXT: The relationship between quality of Goals of Care (GOC) conversations and moral distress among NICU providers is not known. OBJECTIVES: We sought: 1) to explore levels of moral distress in providers, 2) to evaluate how staff moral distress changes in relation to GOC discussions and 3) to identify elements of GOC discussions associated with change in moral distress. We hypothesized that staff moral distress would change after GOC discussions and that that change would vary with presence of key discussion elements. METHODS: Prospective cohort study in a level IV NICU in an urban teaching hospital. We administered validated instruments at baseline and following GOC discussions including the Moral Distress Thermometer (MDT) and Williams Instrument (a measure of end-of-life care) to physicians, nurses, and social workers. RESULTS: We collected data on 79 GOC conversations over a one-year period from 2018-2019. Most providers experienced an increase in moral distress following a GOC discussion. Providers experienced an average increase in moral distress, as measured by the MDT, of 0.84 (+/-3.15) (p=.002). Physicians experienced an average change in moral distress of 1.1 (+/-3.52) (p= 0.01) while nurses experienced an average change of .55 (+/-2.66) (p= 0.07). Several elements of discussions were associated with the degree of increase in moral distress after the conversation. CONCLUSION: Change in moral distress among providers may be a useful metric of quality of GOC discussions. There are identifiable elements of GOC conversations that are associated with high quality discussions. These elements warrant further study.

Rights

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Citation List Month

March 2021 List

Collection

Citation

Guttmann K; Flibotte J; Seitz H; Huber M; DeMauro SB, “Goals of Care Discussions and Moral Distress among Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Staff,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed July 27, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17478.

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