NICU, neonatal nursing, infants, infant deaths
Background: Neonatal deaths (infants less than 28 days old) account for two thirds (66.7%) of all infant deaths with most occurring in an ICU setting. NICU nurses are frequently involved in end-of-life (EOL) care and face unique obstacles.
Objective: The objective of this study was to obtain NICU nurses’ suggestions for improving obstacles in EOL care in NICUs.
Methods: Suggestions were obtained through mailed survey research in qualitative study design. Returned surveys yielded 121 nurse respondents who gave a total of 138 suggestions.
Results: A total of 10 cohesive themes were identified: (1) environmental design issues, (2) improved communication between healthcare teams, (3) ending futile care earlier, (4) realistic and honest physician communications to families, (5) providing a “good death,” (6) improved nurse staffing, (7) need for EOL education, (8) earlier entry into hospice/palliative care, (9) availability of ancillary staff, and (10) allowing parents more time to prepare for death.
Conclusions: Despite the variety of obstacles encountered in providing EOL care to dying infants and their families, NICU nurses can influence environmental factors, help improve communication, and use self-assessment tools to identify current EOL care practices.
Original Publication Citation
Beckstrand, R. L., Isaacson, R. F.**, Macintosh, J. L., Luthy, K. E., & Eden, L. (2019). NICU nurses' suggestions for improving end-of-life care obstacles. Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 25(1), 32-36.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Beckstrand, Renea L.; Isaacson, Rebecca F.; Macintosh, Janelle L. B.; Luthy, Karlen E.; and Eden, Lacey, "NICU Nurses' Suggestions for Improving End-of-Life Care Obstacles" (2018). Faculty Publications. 5209.
Journal of Neonatal Nursing
© 2018 Neonatal Nurses Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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