Journal of Undergraduate Research


neonatal intensive care unit, ICU, supportive behaviors, end-of-life care




Neonatal end-of-life (EOL) care supports a peaceful and dignified death for the infant as well as provision of loving support to the family (National Association of Neonatal Nurses, 2010). Infant mortality in the U.S. is 6.05 infant deaths per 1,000 births (MacDorman, Hoyert, & Matthews, 2013). Due to this infant mortality rate, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurses need to understand how to provide EOL care to patients and families. NICU nurses who care for dying infants are faced with unique EOL care obstacles and challenges. EOL nursing care for infants not only includes the patient, but also the family. In order to be able to provide best care for patients and families nurses need to understand and overcome obstacles that inhibit EOL care and learn and incorporate supportive behaviors into EOL care. A study by Wright, Prasun, and Hilgenberg (2011) found that obstacles to providing EOL care for NICU nurses continue to exist. Two of these obstacles include an inability to express opinions about palliative care and the lack of EOL education (Wright et al., 2011). Understanding what barriers exist is important so as to better educate and help NICU nurses overcome obstacles in providing quality EOL care.

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