Neonatal Palliative Care Practices: An Indian Perspective


Neonatal Palliative Care Practices: An Indian Perspective


Mascarenhas D; Goyal M; Nanavati R


Paediatrics and International Child Health




article; female; human; human experiment; India; male; memory; middle income country; neonatal intensive care unit; neonatal nurse; neonatologist; newborn; palliative therapy; photography; practice guideline; questionnaire; terminal care


Background: Neonatal palliative care (NPC) aims to prevent and relieve the suffering of neonates who are not going to recover. Although an integral part of neonatal care, it remains in nascent stages in many parts of the world. Aim(s): To describe neonatologists' level of knowledge and understanding of NPC, and to describe current practices and barriers to its delivery. Method(s): The study, a cross-sectional web-based national survey, was undertaken between 2019 and 2020. A structured form of 22 questions about NPC was completed by neonatologists across level III neonatal intensive care units in India. Result(s): Of the 145 questionnaires sent out, 65 responses were returned (44.8%). The participating units were in both public (38.5%) and private/corporate hospitals (61.5%). The concept of NPC was known to 90.8%, and 93.8% could identify conditions necessitating palliation. However, 81.5% of units lacked a palliative team, and few had teams of only neonatologists and neonatal nurses. Only 10.8% of the units had a structured policy, but none addressed all aspects of neonatal palliation. The creation of memories by parents spending time with their neonate (38.9%), photography (75.9%), footprints (13%) or collecting memorabilia was allowed at many centres. Frequently encountered barriers included inadequate knowledge (16.9%), poor infrastructure (21.5%), inadequate human resources (24.6%) and a lack of structured guidelines and legal support (15.4%). Conclusion(s): This is the first study to highlight a large gap in neonatal end-of-life care in India and it reflects an urgent need to facilitate its incorporation into routine care. Abbreviations: NICU: neonatal intensive care unit; NPC: neonatal palliative care. Copyright © 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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Citation List Month

2022 Special Edition Low Resource Setting Issue


Mascarenhas D; Goyal M; Nanavati R, “Neonatal Palliative Care Practices: An Indian Perspective,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 21, 2024,