Experiences from the first 10 years of a perinatal palliative care program: A retrospective chart review

Title

Experiences from the first 10 years of a perinatal palliative care program: A retrospective chart review

Creator

Doherty ME; Power L; Williams R; Stoppels N; Grandmaison Dumond L

Identifier

Publisher

Paediatrics & Child Health

Date

2021

Subject

Infant; Program Evaluation; Referral and Consultation; Terminal Care; Human; Descriptive Statistics; Perinatal Care; Prenatal Diagnosis; Retrospective Design; Record Review; Work Experiences; Gestational Age; Perinatal Death; Palliative Care -- In Infancy and Childhood; Treatment Outcomes; Neonatologists; Central Nervous System Diseases; Early Intervention; Infant High Risk

Description

Background Perinatal palliative care is a relatively new component of paediatric palliative care which supports families who are expecting the birth of a child with a life-limiting condition. This study seeks to understand the characteristics of the infants and families referred for perinatal palliative care and the context for referrals in terms of diagnoses, referral characteristics, interventions, and outcomes. Methods A retrospective chart review of infants with prenatally diagnosed life-limiting conditions that were referred for perinatal palliative care. Results Eighty-five referrals were made for perinatal palliative care during the 10-year period, of which, 84 chose to continue with the service. Average gestational age at diagnosis was 23 weeks, and the mean time between diagnosis and referral to palliative care was 7 weeks. Stillbirths were common, occurring in 29% cases. Of livebirths, 59% of the infants survived for 2 days, and 80% died within 30 days. The most commonly referred conditions were trisomy 13 or 18 (24%), severe central nervous system malformations (20%), and severe congenital cardiac disease (16%). Referrals were most often made by neonatologists (39%), and maternal–fetal medicine specialists (36%). Discussion Our study confirms previously observed characteristics of diagnosis, referrals, and outcomes, while providing the most detailed account of lifespans for particular diagnoses to date. Our findings validate the need for perinatal palliative care, as 99% of those referred continued with the service. Future research should adopt a prospective approach to identify critical factors affecting decision making of families and physicians in the wake of a life-limiting diagnosis.

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

April 2021 List

Collection

Citation

Doherty ME; Power L; Williams R; Stoppels N; Grandmaison Dumond L, “Experiences from the first 10 years of a perinatal palliative care program: A retrospective chart review,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed July 30, 2021, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17504.

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